Las Vegas: Kalitta Motorsports final summary

Kalitta Motorsports' Doug Kalitta reaches final round in Las Vegas; Teammate "Aussie Dave" Grubnic makes semifinals while teammates Scott Kalitta and Ben Marshall take early exits Las Vegas, Nev., April 17, 2005 -- Doug Kalitta, driver of the ...

Kalitta Motorsports' Doug Kalitta reaches final round in Las Vegas; Teammate "Aussie Dave" Grubnic makes semifinals while teammates Scott Kalitta and Ben Marshall take early exits

Las Vegas, Nev., April 17, 2005 -- Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, made the 42nd final-round appearance of his quarter-mile career at the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals in Las Vegas at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday. After qualifying No. 1 for final eliminations, Doug lost a close title round to No. 2 qualifier Larry Dixon (4.648 sec., 319.52 mph to 4.591 sec., 326.40 mph) in a rematch of the Mac Tools Gatornationals final round, three weeks ago in Gainesville, Fla., which Doug won.

Doug defeated Scott Palmer and Jack Beckman in rounds one and two respectively. In the semifinals, Doug won a points-crucial round against points leader Tony Schumacher, 4.789 sec., 300 mph to 5.248 sec., 257.63 mph.

"We gave it our best shot," Doug said. "We came up a little bit short this time. Dixon and that group have a great team over there, so we can hold our heads up knowing that we just got beat by a better car today. That's drag racing. That's what makes it so exciting.

"Getting the win over Schumacher in the semis was huge. Now, we just need to keep closing the gap and eventually take the points lead. That's the biggest goal we have."

Doug, 40, an eight-year Top Fuel veteran was attempting to win the 21st NHRA national event of his career. He moves into second in championship points (360), 60 points behind leader Schumacher.

Zantrex-3 Top Fuel pilot "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, 42, the 2004 Budweiser Shootout special event winner last fall in Las Vegas, made the semi-final round in Las Vegas after defeating Morgan Lucas and Cory McClenathan in rounds one and two respectively. Grubnic made a valiant effort in the semifinals, but lost to Dixon, 5.658 sec., 168.47 mph to 4.742 sec., 303.09 mph.

Native Australian Grubnic has made seven final-round appearances in his 11-year career but has not yet won an NHRA national event. He is currently in sixth place in Top Fuel championship points.

Two-time Top Fuel World Champion (1994-1995) Scott Kalitta, 43, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster, qualified No. 10. He lost to Brandon Bernstein in round one after his dragster lost traction (6.129 sec., 151.54 mph to 4.584 sec., 326.87 mph).

Scott, who won the opening event of the 2005 season in Pomona, Calif., in February, is currently eighth in championship points. He has 17 (16 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car) NHRA national event victories to his credit.

Kalitta Motorsports' test driver and marketing manager Ben Marshall, 29, made his professional debut this weekend in Las Vegas behind the wheel of his special StriVectin-SD sponsored Top Fueler. Marshall qualified in the No. 9 slot of the ladder but lost an incredibly close race (.008 sec. margin of victory) to fellow new pro Beckman in round one, 5.087 sec., 220.51 to 5.060 sec., 221.56 mph).

The NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals was the fifth of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Cory McClenathan , Scott Kalitta , Jack Beckman , Brandon Bernstein , Scott Palmer , Morgan Lucas , Jesse James