"Aussie Dave" Grubnic reaches quarterfinals at NHRA Finals in Pomona; Teammates Scott Kalitta and Doug Kalitta suffer first round losses Pomona, Calif., (Nov. 6, 2005) -- At the Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif., at...
"Aussie Dave" Grubnic reaches quarterfinals at NHRA Finals in Pomona; Teammates Scott Kalitta and Doug Kalitta suffer first round losses
Pomona, Calif., (Nov. 6, 2005) -- At the Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif., at Pomona Raceway, StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster driver "Aussie Dave" Grubnic reached the quarter-final round of the final NHRA national event of the 2005 season in Sunday's 16-car final eliminations.
In round one, Grubnic, the No. 12 qualifier, upset No. 5 qualifier Rod Fuller with his best run of the weekend and on a holeshot. Grubnic's 4.528-second, 327.66-mph pass beat Fuller's quicker 4.512-sec., 325.45-mph lap to the finish line because of Grubnic's starting line advantage (.068 sec. to .098 sec.).
In the quarterfinals, Grubnic's StriVectin-SD team matched up against driver Brandon Bernstein and his team. Grubnic lost a very close drag race, 4.577 sec., 321.04 mph to 4.512 sec., 321.50 mph, to end his 2005 season.
Native Australian Grubnic finishes the 2005 season in a career-high fourth place. In May, Grubnic became the first non-North American native to win a NHRA Top Fuel national event in Topeka, Kans. The win was Grubnic's sole victory of the year and the first in his 11-year drag racing career.
Grubnic's Team Kalitta teammate and No. 11 qualifier Scott Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster, faced off against No. 6 qualifier Clay Millican in round one. Scott's 7,000 horsepower nitro rail machine experienced early traction problems on the famed quarter-mile Pomona Raceway and that allowed Millican to cruise down the track to an easy win, 10.030 sec., 74.68 mph to 4.566 sec., 324.20 mph.
Scott, who finishes the 2005 season in eighth place in POWERade championship points, announced Saturday that he will trade-in his Top Fuel dragster for a nitro Funny Car for Kalitta Motorsports in 2006.
Two-time Top Fuel World Champion (1994-1995) Scott, 43, won two races in 2005, the season-opening Winternationals in Pomona in February and at the spring event in Joliet, Ill., in June. He has 18 (17 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car) NHRA national event wins in his 24-year drag racing career.
Scott's cousin and teammate Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, also ended his 2005 season in the first round of eliminations due to the same pesky traction problems his cousin suffered. Doug, the No. 13 qualifier, lost to the No. 4 qualifier Brandon Bernstein, 5.382 sec., 204.17 mph to 4.498 sec., 327.82 mph.
Two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) Doug, 41, finishes the 2005 campaign in third place in points. He won a career-high five NHRA national events this year (Gainesville, Fla., Bristol, Tenn., Atlanta, Sonoma, Calif., and Brainerd, Minn.). He has 24 NHRA national event wins in his eight-year drag racing career.
Doug's Mac Tools crew won the inaugural season-long Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship based on consistency and performance during qualifying at all 23 POWERade Drag Racing Series events. Doug's team, Andy Cetwinski, Jason Davis, Shawn Dill, Dave Griffiths, Matt Melendez, Clayton Musser, and James Riola led by crew chief Rahn Tobler, collects a $25,000 paycheck for their often-overlooked, yet hard-working efforts.
The Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals was the last of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.