"Aussie Dave" Grubnic reaches final round in Las Vegas; Teammate Scott Kalitta advances to semifinals and teammate Doug Kalitta suffers first round loss Las Vegas, Nev., (Oct. 23, 2005) -- "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, driving for new primary sponsor...
"Aussie Dave" Grubnic reaches final round in Las Vegas; Teammate Scott Kalitta advances to semifinals and teammate Doug Kalitta suffers first round loss
Las Vegas, Nev., (Oct. 23, 2005) -- "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, driving for new primary sponsor StriVectin-SD and Kalitta Motorsports, the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series' only full-time, three-car Top Fuel dragster team, reached his third Top Fuel final round of 2005 during Sunday's final eliminations of the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
In the final round Grubnic and his StriVectin-SD team tried their best, but lost to Tony Schumacher (4.587 sec., 324.28 mph to 4.486 sec., 327.19 mph).
"Sure, I'm very disappointed, but you can't win them all," Grubnic said. "The loss is tough, but it was still a good weekend for us both on and off the race track. We had a lot of V.I.P. guests with StriVectin in our pit-side hospitality area all weekend cheering us on and that was fantastic. We're really happy that we were able to give them at least a runner-up finish. Thank you to everyone that came by to see us this weekend."
"Our car ran good all weekend, so we were certainly happy to see that. Oh well, we'll get ready to go again and hopefully get a win next time."
Grubnic's final-round showing was the 12th final for Kalitta Motorsports in 2005. Team Kalitta has won eight NHRA national events (Doug 5, Scott 2, and Grubnic 1) this season.
Native Australian Grubnic, 43, made history May 29th in Topeka, Kans., by becoming the first non-North American to win an NHRA Top Fuel national event. The win in Topeka was Grubnic's first in his 11-year career.
Grubnic remains in fourth place in Top Fuel championship points.
In the opening round of four final eliminations rounds, No. 9 qualifier Grubnic rolled to the starting line of the paved quarter-mile race track to race No. 8 qualifier Cory McClenathan in the first of the Top Fuel class' eight pairings. Both Grubnic and McClenathan had traction problems in their 7,000 horsepower machines, but Grubnic was able to pedal his race car to the finish line first to get the win, 6.874 sec., 286.74 mph to 12.860 sec., 76.97 mph.
In the next pair of the first round, No. 10 qualifier Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red Mac Tools flagship dragster for Team Kalitta, matched up against No. 7 qualifier Brandon Bernstein. Doug's nitro-fueled racer had traction problems like his teammate before him, but his luck in Las Vegas was lacking as he watched Bernstein go by him to get the win light, 5.390 sec., 242.80 mph to 4.489 sec., 327.11 mph.
Doug leaves Las Vegas in third place in Top Fuel championship points. He is only six points behind second place holder Larry Dixon going into the final event of 2005 in Pomona, Calif., in two weeks.
Doug, 41, is an eight-year Top Fuel veteran and former USAC National Sprint Car Champion (1994). He owns 24 NHRA national event trophies. He has five wins, a career-best, so far in 2005 (Gainesville, Bristol, Tenn., Atlanta, Sonoma, Calif., and Brainerd).
Two-time Top Fuel World Champion (1994-1995) and Doug's cousin Scott, 43, driver of the Mac Card/Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster, qualified No. 13 for Sunday's 16-car showdown. Scott, for the third consecutive NHRA national event, saw the dragster driven by Dixon in the opposing lane in round one. Scott was able to get the best of Dixon, the No. 4 qualifier, this time, 4.591 sec., 325.61 mph to 5.965 sec., 169.78 mph, in the final pair of the round. The two veteran Top Fuel pilots had split their previous two first round meetings with Scott winning in Joliet, Ill., two events ago and Dixon winning at the previous event in Dallas, Tex.
In round two, the quarterfinals, Grubnic continued his winning ways by taking out the event's No. 1 qualifier, Morgan Lucas, by making the quickest lap of the round, 4.555 sec., 325.30 mph to 10.404 sec., 84.87 mph. Grubnic's quarter-final victory set up a semi-final round match-up with his teammate Scott, who won his quarter-final race against John Smith (4.633 sec., 326.40 mph to 4.869 sec., 263.05 mph). Grubnic and Scott both had traction problems in their semi-final teammate duel, but Grubnic was able to see the win light, 5.739 sec., 294.56 mph to 6.084 sec., 178.45 mph.
The semi-final round appearance was Scott's second such appearance in the previous three events (Chicago 2).
Scott, who won the opening event of the 2005 season in Pomona, Calif., in February and the spring event in Joliet in June, remains in eighth place in championship points.
Scott has 18 (17 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car) NHRA national event victories in his 24-year career. He was runner-up in Saturday's $100,000 Budweiser Shootout special event for Top Fuel at The Strip. He lost an incredibly close race in the finals of the Shootout by only a few inches to the Alan Johnson-tuned dragster driven by Schumacher.
The ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals was the 22nd of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.