Pomona: Doug Kalitta preview

Doug Kalitta anxious to begin championship quest in Pomona Pomona, Calif., Feb. 16, 2003 -- For reigning national speed record holder Doug Kalitta, the battle for the 2004 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship is not merely a ...

Doug Kalitta anxious to begin championship quest in Pomona

Pomona, Calif., Feb. 16, 2003 -- For reigning national speed record holder Doug Kalitta, the battle for the 2004 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship is not merely a frequently over-spun catch phrase in a team press release. It is the only goal for the forthcoming season for the veteran driver of the bright red Mac Tools dragster.

The drive for this solitary aspiration begins in earnest this week when the new season begins at the K&N Filters Winternationals at the world-renowned Pomona Raceway in Pomona, Calif., Feb. 19-22.

"I am more anxious than ever to get going this year," Kalitta said. "Our Mac Tools dragster recorded the best 60 ft. times (.815, .817, .819 seconds) we've ever had during testing. Connie's (Kalitta, owner and crew chief) tune up has always been really strong from mid track on, but now we are getting the numbers we want on the launch. It will make us much stronger."

"Much stronger" is assuredly not what the rest of Kalitta's Top Fuel competitors want to hear or watch from the opposite lane. After all, last season his Mac Tools dragster set the national speed record of 333.25 mph and his rocket shot of 4.428 seconds, the quickest in NHRA history, last fall still has jaws dropping.

The off season at Kalitta Motorsports has produced more reasons for Kalitta's optimism in 2004. First, he has a new co-crew chief in Rahn Tobler. Tobler may be best known as drag racing legend Shirley Muldowney's husband, but it is his proficiency in turning the knobs as crew chief for three-time NHRA World Champion Muldowney that makes him an invaluable asset. Second, he has a new Kalitta Motorsports teammate in David Grubnic. Grubnic will pilot the new Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster. Sharing data is the biggest advantage for multi-car teams. With Kalitta and Grubnic's teams sharing their information among themselves and with their other teammate Scott Kalitta's Mac Tools/Jesse James team, data will be in abundance in all of their pit areas.

"We have all the pieces in place for a title run this year," Kalitta said. "Wins are great, and we want a lot of them, but anything short of winning the championship would be a let down. We have a one-track mindset for 2004."

-km-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Shirley Muldowney , Doug Kalitta , David Grubnic , Scott Kalitta , Jesse James