Joliet II: Doug Kalitta eliminations summary

Kalitta blows away competition en route to Chicago win. Joliet, Ill., Sept. 30, 2002 - Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools/Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel dragster team proved to themselves and to the rest of their competition in the NHRA POWERade Drag...

Kalitta blows away competition en route to Chicago win.

Joliet, Ill., Sept. 30, 2002 - Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools/Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel dragster team proved to themselves and to the rest of their competition in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series that their win two weeks ago in Reading, Penn., was not merely a single flash of excellence, but the beginning of what may be a string of wins as they took home the trophy again at the Craftsman 75th Anniversary Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., just a few miles south of Chicago.

This win is the team's second of the season and vaulted them from sixth to fourth in NHRA Top Fuel championship points.

"This was such an awesome win for our Mac Tools team," said Kalitta. "We made a strong move toward our goal of finishing third in the points with this win. We are only 70 points away from Tony (Schumacher) who is in third now, so hopefully we can reel him in the final three races."

Kalitta qualified fourth in the sixteen-dragster field with a blistering 4.569-second, 320.13 mph performance. He faced off against the number 13 qualifier, Jim Cavalieri in the first round of eliminations.

Cavalieri and his Peek Brothers team made a valiant effort (4.669 seconds, 316.01 mph), but came up short as Kalitta streaked to the win with a very strong run of 4.586 seconds at 326.32 mph to set low elapsed time and top speed of eliminations.

With a 4.593 seconds, 325.45 mph run, the Mac Tools team easily defeated a tire-smoking dragster driven by Jim Head (5.865 seconds, 157.76 mph) in the second round to set up a semi-final showdown with number one qualifier, Doug Herbert in the Snap-On Tools race car.

"Doug (Herbert) took us out in the finals in Sonoma earlier this year," said co-crew chief Jim Oberhofer. "We were really pumped up going into the semi-finals because we had a chance at payback, and anytime we have the chance to take out the other tool car it makes it even more exciting."

Kalitta won a close race with a 4.662-second, 322.19 mph pass to Herbert's 4.673-second, 303.78 mph attempt.

In the finals, Kalitta lined up against Darrell Russell. As he had done in each of the three previous rounds, Kalitta got off the starting line first and cruised to the victory with a 4.594-second, 323.27 mph blast after Russell had traction problems almost immediately after going green to run 7.331 seconds at 120.74 mph.

The win is the tenth of Kalitta's career and ties him with his uncle and crew chief, Connie Kalitta, on the NHRA career Top Fuel win list.

After 20 of 23 National Events, Doug is 4th in NHRA POWERade Top Fuel Championship points.

-km-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Doug Herbert , Doug Kalitta , Jim Oberhofer , Connie Kalitta