Doug Kalitta rockets to pole in Pomona; Teammates David Grubnic and Scott Kalitta to start fifth and tenth respectively Pomona, Calif., Feb. 28, 2003 -- It must have been dejÃ vu for 15-time NHRA national event winner Doug Kalitta when he drove...
Doug Kalitta rockets to pole in Pomona; Teammates David Grubnic and Scott Kalitta to start fifth and tenth respectively
Pomona, Calif., Feb. 28, 2003 -- It must have been dejà vu for 15-time NHRA national event winner Doug Kalitta when he drove his Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster to the No. 1 qualifying position at the K&N Filters Winternationals in the final qualifying session Saturday.
The Winternationals open the 23-event NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series schedule for 2004.
Kalitta's 4.484-sec., 329.99-mph shot down the famed quarter mile at Pomona Raceway eerily resembled his final qualifying session marks in the 2003 installment of the Winternationals of 4.482 sec., 332.81 mph. That blast also propelled him to the top spot, his first of nine No.1's in 2003 including five consecutive to begin last season.
"What a great way to start," Rahn Tobler, co-crew chief of the Mac Tools dragster exclaimed. "We are ecstatic right now. I was excited when I found out I was going to get this job, but I am probably more excited now to see all of the hard work pay off for our Mac Tools team.
"This team made a habit of doing this early last year. Hopefully, we will continue that trend this year."
2004 is Tobler's first with Kalitta Motorsports. He previously served as crew chief for retired drag racing legend Shirley Muldowney, who is also Tobler's wife.
Doug's teammate and native Australian David Grubnic piloted his Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster into the No. 5 qualifying spot with an also impressive 4.521-sec., 315.49-mph run in the last session. The elapsed time is a personal best for the likeable journeyman in his first season with Kalitta Motorsports.
"That was a really good run," Grubnic said. "We are quite happy with those numbers. Connie (Kalitta, team owner and crew chief) and Jon (Oberhofer, co-crew chief) have our Kalitta Air car almost exactly where we want it. I can't wait to go into eliminations tomorrow knowing that we can go rounds and possibly be there in the end."
After consistent qualifying attempts in the previous two sessions of 4.577 sec. and 4.618 sec., Doug and David's teammate Scott Kalitta slipped to the No. 10 qualifying slot when he and his Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster struggled to improve upon their best effort of 4.577 sec., 324.36 mph in their last attempt (9.879 sec., 86.49 mph). Scott will face No. 7 qualifier David Baca in the first round of eliminations Sunday.
Grubnic will face off against No. 12 qualifier Scott Palmer in the opening stanza tomorrow while Doug will stage up against No. 16 qualifier Scott Weis.
Eliminations for the Top Fuel class and the rest of the competitors of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series begin at 11:00 a.m. (PST) Sunday morning.