Joliet: Kalitta Motorsports Saturday summary

NHRA Top Fueler Doug Kalitta qualifies No. 2 in Chicago; Top Fuel teammate Dave Grubnic qualifies No. 5 and Scott Kalitta fails to qualify in Funny Car JOLIET, Ill., (June 10, 2006) -- Doug Kalitta, driver of the specially painted Mac Card Ride...

NHRA Top Fueler Doug Kalitta qualifies No. 2 in Chicago; Top Fuel teammate Dave Grubnic qualifies No. 5 and Scott Kalitta fails to qualify in Funny Car

JOLIET, Ill., (June 10, 2006) -- Doug Kalitta, driver of the specially painted Mac Card Ride to Remember Sweepstakes/Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, will begin Sunday's 16-car Top Fuel final eliminations from the No. 2 (4.496 seconds, 326.71 mph) qualifying position at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., just south of downtown Chicago.

Doug will race No. 15 qualifier Joe Hartley (4.611 sec., 316.82 mph) in the first round of eliminations tomorrow. Doug has won three of the previous four NHRA national events (Bristol, Tenn., Atlanta, and the previous event in Topeka, Kans.).

Doug enters tomorrow's final eliminations in second place in POWERade championship points, just 91 points behind Top Fuel leader Melanie Troxel.

Doug, a 41-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., is a two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) and the 1998 Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner for rookie excellence. He has 27 NHRA national event wins. He is now in his ninth season in NHRA Top Fuel drag racing. Before joining the quarter-mile set, Doug raced in open-wheel competition and won the 1994 USAC National Sprint Car Championship.

Doug's Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel teammate Dave Grubnic, driver of the pink and black StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, qualified for final eliminations in the No. 5 spot (4.507 sec., 315.42 mph). He will race No. 12 qualifier and POWERade points leader Troxel (4.555 sec., 308.50 mph) in the first round of eliminations. This will be the fourth match-up of 2006 between Grubnic and Troxel. Grubnic defeated Troxel in their final-round meeting in Gainesville, Fla., in March, but he has lost to her in their other two races in the second round in Phoenix and in the final round in Las Vegas.

Grubnic enters tomorrow's final eliminations in fourth place in POWERade championship points.

In early 2004, Grubnic, a 43-year old resident of Ennis, Mont., was hired to drive for Kalitta Motorsports after several years of driving for teams with minimal funding. Since joining Team Kalitta, Grubnic, now in his 12th season as a Top Fuel driver, has posted consecutive top-five championship points finishes. In 2004, he won the lucrative and coveted Budweiser Shootout in Las Vegas, becoming only the fourth driver in the special event's 20-year history to win its $100,000 prize in his first attempt, and he picked up an emotional and long overdue first NHRA national event win in May, 2005 in Topeka, Kans., to become the first non-native North American to win a Top Fuel trophy.

Despite running his career-best Funny Car speed of 321.35 mph in Friday night's second qualifying session, Doug's cousin Scott Kalitta, driving his new Kalitta Air Monte Carlo Funny Car flopper, failed to make Sunday's 16-car final eliminations field. Scott's best elapsed time effort of 4.831 sec., was not enough to make the quickest Funny Car eliminations field in NHRA history (4.672 sec., to 4.802 sec.).

Rookie Top Fueler Hillary Will, driving the Kalitta Motorsports-managed, Ken Black-owned dragster, qualified in the No. 9 position.

Sunday's final eliminations at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals begin at 11:00 a.m.

All times and dates subject to change.

The CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals is the 10th of 23 national events in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

-km-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , Scott Kalitta , Joe Hartley , Hillary Will , Ken Black