NHRA Top Fueler Doug Kalitta poised to take POWERade points lead in St. Louis MADISON, Ill., (June 21, 2006) -- With the world-famous Gateway Arch bending the horizon nearby, Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red, 8,000 horsepower Mac Tools Top...
NHRA Top Fueler Doug Kalitta poised to take POWERade points lead in St. Louis
MADISON, Ill., (June 21, 2006) -- With the world-famous Gateway Arch bending the horizon nearby, Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red, 8,000 horsepower Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, likes the view down the quarter-mile race track at Gateway International Raceway the sight of this weekend's, June 23-25, O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals in Madison, Ill., just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis.
Kalitta has won the Top Fuel title at the drag strip on the shores of Old Man River three times in 2004, 2003, and 2001. Now, with the NHRA season's mid-point race at hand, Kalitta has his mind set on the big picture.
"We just keep chipping away at it (POWERade championship points lead)," Kalitta said. "Hopefully St. Louis will be the race that we take the lead. The competition in Top Fuel is great right now. Every [elimination] round is tough and there are no easy opponents, so we're glad we've been able to get some wins and have a shot at the lead.
"St. Louis has been a great track for us. We just seem to have a good handle on things at Gateway. I hope that's the case again this year."
Kalitta won back-to-back events in Bristol, Tenn., and Atlanta and then consecutively won again at events in Topeka, Kans., and Chicago. Kalitta leads Top Fuel, the NHRA's quickest and fastest racing class, with four wins in 2006 and has climbed from 9th to 2nd place in POWERade championship points. He now sits only 68 points away from the championship lead after trimming away 162 points from the deficit in the last six NHRA events.
Kalitta, 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 is now in his ninth season in NHRA Top Fuel drag racing and has 28 career Top Fuel victories in 51 final-round appearances. Before joining the quarter-mile set, Kalitta raced in open-wheel competition and won the 1994 USAC National Sprint Car Championship. He is also the owner and president of Kalitta Charters, a charter airline service based at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Mich., alongside Kalitta Air, an airline freight service owned by his uncle, race team owner, and drag racing legend Connie Kalitta.
The O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals begins Friday, June 23, for the Top Fuel class with two qualifying sessions at 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. (CT). Two more qualifying sessions follow on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. The top sixteen qualified cars will race Sunday in final eliminations beginning at 11:00 a.m.
All times and dates subject to change.
The O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals is the 12th of 23 national events in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.