Kalitta confidently rolls into Chicago; Hopes to maintain momentum after consecutive final round appearances Joliet, Ill., May 28, 2003 -- Some Top Fuel dragster drivers work themselves into an almost egomaniacal frenzy of bombast and chest ...
Kalitta confidently rolls into Chicago; Hopes to maintain momentum after consecutive final round appearances
Joliet, Ill., May 28, 2003 -- Some Top Fuel dragster drivers work themselves into an almost egomaniacal frenzy of bombast and chest pounding to prepare their psyche for their short, but quite intensive, work trips.
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Kalitta Motorsports/Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, is not one of those drivers. Kalitta is the "Iceman".
Just like the "Iceman" t-shirts available in the Mac Tools merchandise trailer at NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series national events proclaim, Kalitta is cool under pressure. He remains calm and almost stoic before, during and after his 330+ mph blasts down the quarter-mile.
Take for instance, in Topeka last weekend at the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals, Kalitta and the Mac Tools team struggled in qualifying to get their 6000+ horsepower dragster down the racetrack without losing traction. After qualifying No. 1 at six of the first eight national events, Kalitta was not accustomed to qualifying woes. Throughout the first three tire-smoking qualifying sessions, Kalitta never panicked and remained focused, even with the possibility of failing to qualify for Sunday's eliminations. Finally, in the last qualifying session, the Mac Tools team gave Kalitta a conservative, yet strong, 4.600-second racecar to safely get sixth starting position in the 16-car eliminations field. Kalitta remained composed and confident, partly due to his demeanor and partly due to his trust in his Mac Tools team.
His trust in his team is well-deserved. In eliminations, the big, red Mac Tools dragster promptly clicked off 4.56, 4.58 and 4.55-second runs en route to a second consecutive final round pairing with NHRA Top Fuel points leader Larry Dixon. Kalitta (4.575 seconds, 324.20 mph) bested Dixon in their last meeting in Englishtown, but Dixon (4.534 seconds, 327.82 mph) took the trophy this time.
"We were so close in that one," Kalitta said referring to his last race with Dixon. "It was a fun race, but I had hoped for a different outcome. Our Mac Tools team did a great job with hot track conditions, and that is very encouraging. Now, we will concentrate on winning in Chicago. We moved up to second in points after Topeka. We really need to step up our game now and go hard for first place. A win in Chicago would go a long way toward our championship goal."
This weekend the Mac Tools team will direct their efforts to doing just that as the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series roars into the Chicago area, May 29-June 1, for the Lucas Oil NHRA Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., just south of the Windy City.
With one of the hottest racecars on the drag strip, Kalitta and his Mac Tools dragster team remain cool under pressure and focused on their goal of being crowned 2003 NHRA POWERade Top Fuel champions.
After nine of 23 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series national events in 2003, Kalitta is 2nd in Top Fuel championship points.