In Phoenix Doug Kalitta makes second straight final; Teammates Scott Kalitta and David Grubnic don't fare as well Chandler, Ariz., March 7, 2004 -- In the past seven days, Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster driver Doug Kalitta has made final round ...
In Phoenix Doug Kalitta makes second straight final; Teammates Scott Kalitta and David Grubnic don't fare as well
Chandler, Ariz., March 7, 2004 -- In the past seven days, Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster driver Doug Kalitta has made final round appearances in the first two NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series national events of 2004. Unfortunately, he has yet to see a win light in his lane in those finals, but he will enter the third event of the 23-event NHRA schedule in Gainesville in two weeks in second place in Top Fuel points, just two points behind leader Tony Schumacher.
Kalitta entered the 16-car eliminations field in the No. 5 qualifying position.
At the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals Sunday in Chandler, Ariz., near Phoenix, Kalitta, a 15-time NHRA national event winner, drove his bright red Mac Tools hot rod, tuned by team owner Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta and Rahn Tobler, co-crew chief, past Rhonda Hartman-Smith in the first round of eliminations (4.640 sec., 308.14 mph to 11.188, 87.06 mph).
In another repeat from last weekend's season-opening event in Pomona, Calif., Kalitta put defending NHRA Top Fuel Champion Larry Dixon on the trailer after a second round battle (4.843 sec., 293.60 mph to 4.853 sec., 243.55 mph).
Kalitta blasted by Cory McClenathan in the semifinals (4.740 sec., 304.05 mph to 6.075 sec., 156.64 mph) to set up a final round duel with defending Phoenix champ Brandon Bernstein.
In his 34th career final round, Kalitta used an incredible .019-sec. reaction time to get a big starting line jump on Bernstein (.073 sec.), but the Mac Tools rail lost traction around 330 ft. down the drag strip to let Bernstein get the win (4.537 sec., 326.63 mph to 5.837 sec., 184.85 mph).
Doug's cousin and teammate Scott Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster, lost in the first round to Dixon while No. 1 qualifier David Grubnic, driver of the Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster, took his Kalitta Motorsports entry into the second round where he lost to McClenathan.