Doug Kalitta makes quarterfinals at NHRA opener in Pomona after defeating his teammate Grubnic in the first round Pomona, Calif., (Feb. 12, 2006) -- Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red, 7,000 horsepower Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, made a ...
Doug Kalitta makes quarterfinals at NHRA opener in Pomona after defeating his teammate Grubnic in the first round
Pomona, Calif., (Feb. 12, 2006) -- Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red, 7,000 horsepower Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, made a quarter-final appearance at the season-opening CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Feb. 9-12, in Pomona, Calif., the first of 23 national events in the 2006 POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Unfortunately for the multi-car team of the Ypsilanti, Michigan-based Kalitta Motorsports, Kalitta, the No. 2 qualifier (4.500 seconds, 326.95 mph), had to beat his teammate and No. 15 qualifier Dave Grubnic (4.637 sec., 308.99), driver of the pink and black StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, in the first round of final eliminations Sunday.
The two teammates and friends rolled to the starting line as equals, but after the lights went green, it was Kalitta's red rail that turned on the win light at the finish line, 4.589 sec., 279.09 mph to 5.716 sec., 167.47 mph.
In the quarterfinals, Kalitta faced off against David Baca. On paper, Kalitta and his Mac Tools team were certainly favored to win, but after the smoke cleared from Kalitta's traction-loosing run to approximately 300 ft., Baca cruised to the win, 6.702 sec., 144.92 mph to 4.735 sec., 276.92 mph.
Kalitta's nitro-powered race car ran great in qualifying for the event, including 4.53, 4.52 and 4.50-sec. laps and after the first round posting of 4.58, it was a shock to the capacity crowd at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona to see the Rahn Tobler-tuned dragster lose traction in the quarterfinals.
"I messed up," a visibly disappointed Tobler said. "The track got a little warmer and I backed the power down a little to compensate for it, but I should've backed it down more. There's nobody to blame but me. I feel badly for Mac Tools and all our sponsors and our race team, but all I can do now is learn from my mistake and move on."
Doug, a 41-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., is a two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) and the 1998 Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner for rookie excellence. Doug is now in his ninth season in NHRA Top Fuel drag racing and has 24 national event wins to his credit. Before joining the quarter-mile set, Doug raced in open-wheel competition and won the 1994 USAC National Sprint Car Championship.
Scott Kalitta, driver of the new Kalitta Air nitro Funny Car, was unable to qualify for Sunday's 16-car final eliminations field in his return to the Funny Car class after racing in Top Fuel since 1990.
Rookie Top Fueler Hillary Will, driving the Kalitta Motorsports-managed, Ken Black-owned dragster, qualified in the No. 4 position and lost her opening-round match-up with Morgan Lucas.
The CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals was the 1st of 23 national events in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.