Phoenix: Dave Grubnic final report

Dave Grubnic, Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel dragster -- No. 2 qualifier, advanced to final round Dave Grubnic and the Kalitta Motorsports team take runner-up finish in Phoenix PHOENIX, Ariz., (Feb. 25, 2008) -- Native Australian Dave ...

Dave Grubnic, Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel dragster -- No. 2 qualifier, advanced to final round
Dave Grubnic and the Kalitta Motorsports team take runner-up finish in Phoenix

PHOENIX, Ariz., (Feb. 25, 2008) -- Native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the 8,000-horsepower Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel dragster, advanced to the final round of quarter-mile competition in yesterday's 16-car final eliminations of the Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals at Firebird Int'l Raceway in Phoenix, Ariz. It marked Grubnic's first final-round appearance since the NHRA national event in Seattle in July, 2006.

Grubnic, the No 2 qualifier (4.524 seconds, 327.66 mph) had no problems getting past his first round opponent and No. 15 qualifier Troy Buff. Grubnic's round-best 4.500-second lap was more than enough to take the win over Buff's 4.644-second attempt. In round two, Grubnic's solid black rail continued to improve its performance with another round-best (tie) elapsed time of 4.491 seconds, which easily defeated his opponent's, Bob Vandergriff, 4.621-second effort.

In the semifinals, Grubnic took on Rod Fuller for a chance to advance to the final round. Both drivers had posted 4.491-second marks in the second round, so the paved table was set for a colossal race, but the race was over soon after it began. Fuller's car lost traction almost immediately after the start so he had the best view of Grubnic blazing to the finish line with another incredible lap of 4.519 sec., 332.26 mph. Grubnic's booming speed was second fastest during the weekend. Fuller coasted to the finish stripe later with a 9.259-sec., 87.37-mph roll.

Grubnic then faced another Top Fuel veteran in Larry Dixon in the title round. Unfortunately, Grubnic's almost-flawless charge through eliminations ended in the last race of the weekend. Both cars seemed to be running perfectly and side-by side until Grubnic's car began falling back due to a sudden loss of traction just before half-track which subsequently caused cylinders in the dragster's nitro-fueled engine to fail. Dixon's clean pass of 4.532 sec., 327.19 mph took the win away from Grubnic as his car posted a 5.002-sec., 259.26-mph mark.

"What a great day for me and our whole Kalitta Motorsports team," Grubnic, a 45-year old resident of Ennis, Mont., said. "Sure, we wanted to get the win, and we're disappointed that we didn't, but all-in-all it was a great weekend for our team.

"We've started this season without a major sponsor so we're hoping our upswing in performance this year will turn some heads in the corporate world. Our race car just keeps getting better and better, and hopefully that momentum will get noticed by someone out there that wants to partner with a proven, winning organization. I want to thank our longtime associate sponsors, Red Line Oil, Technicoat Companies, Summit Racing Equipment and K2M, who continue to stick by us through the bad times and the good."

Grubnic is now 3rd in 2008 Top Fuel POWERade championship points.

-credit: km

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Bob Vandergriff , Rod Fuller , Troy Buff