Memphis: Kalitta Motorsports preview

NHRA's Team Kalitta rolls into rockin' Memphis one step closer to being crowned the Kings of Top Fuel Millington, Tenn., Aug. 17, 2005 - NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship points leader Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools...

NHRA's Team Kalitta rolls into rockin' Memphis one step closer to being crowned the Kings of Top Fuel

Millington, Tenn., Aug. 17, 2005 - NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship points leader Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools dragster, leads his Kalitta Motorsports teammates "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, driver of the Zantrex-3 Top Fuel dragster, and cousin Scott Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster, into the Mid-South this weekend for some warm southern hospitality and hot quarter-mile racing at Memphis Motorsports Park, just north of downtown Memphis in Millington, Tenn., at the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals, Aug. 19-21.

Doug, who leads by 70 over second place Tony Schumacher in championship points, claimed his fifth win of the 2005 season, a career-best, last weekend in Brainerd, Minn. The win in Brainerd coupled with his victory three weeks ago in Sonoma, Calif., sets up the opportunity for Doug to win three consecutive NHRA national events for the first time in his career.

"Three in a row would be great," Doug said. "We're running really well right now, so anything is possible. More importantly, if we win in Memphis, we'll extend our points lead.

"I think right now is the most determination I've ever seen on our team. Everyone is really getting into a good rhythm and it's carrying over out on the track. If we keep this attitude going, we'll be right there to win it all."

Doug holds the track record for speed at Memphis Motorsports Park (327.90 mph - Sept. 2003). He also holds the timeslip for the quickest run in NHRA history (4.420 sec. - Chicago 1, 2004).

Two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) Doug, 40, is an eight-year Top Fuel veteran and former USAC National Sprint Car Champion (1994). He owns 24 NHRA national event trophies. His wins so far in 2005 were in Gainesville, Fla., Bristol, Tenn., Atlanta, Sonoma and Brainerd.

Grubnic, No. 1 qualifier last year in Memphis, is looking to avenge a quarter-final, holeshot-loss during last year's final eliminations at Memphis Motorsports Park.

"Man, that loss in the second round last year was tough," Grubnic said. "That just drives me even harder to win the whole thing this year.

"Maybe we can put some Zantrex-3 in the fuel tanks this year to give us an extra energy boost. NHRA might frown on that, so we'll just tune-up our car and go out there ready to win every round, driver included."

Native Australian Grubnic, 43, the $100,000 Budweiser Shootout special event winner last fall in Las Vegas, 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. He is currently fifth in championship points, 243 from the lead.

Two-time Top Fuel World Champion (1994-1995) and Doug's cousin Scott, runner-up for the Top Fuel title last year in Memphis, is looking for one win light in the Bluff City this year.

"We came close last year in Memphis," Scott said. "I want to seal the deal this year.

"Our Mac Tools/Jesse James car has really been coming around lately. We've struggled with it all year, but it's finally showing some consistency. I feel good about our chances in Memphis and at the rest of the races this year."

Scott, 43, won the opening event of the 2005 season in Pomona, Calif., in February, and took the Top Fuel trophy in Joliet, Ill., in early June. He has 18 (17 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car) NHRA national event victories in his career. He is currently eighth in championship points.

The O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals begins Friday, Aug. 19, for the Top Fuel class with two qualifying sessions. Two more qualifying sessions follow on Saturday. The top sixteen qualified cars will race Sunday in final eliminations beginning at 3:00 p.m.

The O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals is the 17th of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

-km-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Scott Kalitta , Jesse James