Kalitta Motorsports' Top Fuel teammates Doug Kalitta and Dave Grubnic reach semifinals in Reading READING, Penn., (Oct. 1, 2006) -- NHRA Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, took another step...
Kalitta Motorsports' Top Fuel teammates Doug Kalitta and Dave Grubnic reach semifinals in Reading
READING, Penn., (Oct. 1, 2006) -- NHRA Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, took another step toward the 2006 Top Fuel championship Sunday by reaching the semifinals of final eliminations at the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Penn.
Doug, who qualified in the No. 2 spot (4.488 seconds, 330.39 mph), defeated No. 15 qualifier Luigi Novelli in the opening round of eliminations, 4.543 sec., 325.53 mph to 6.800 sec., 116.39, to set up a second round match-up with Team Kalitta teammate Hillary Will (Ken Black-owned). Will's dragster lost traction at about 150 ft. down the quarter-mile race track at Maple Grove, and she had to watch Doug and "Big Red" rocket by her to collect the win for the Mac Tools team, 4.534 sec., 329.02 mph to 8.885 sec., 83.57 mph.
In the semifinals, Doug faced off against another female Top Fueler in Melanie Troxel. This time the lady was first in a spectacular drag race, 4.563 sec., 327.11 mph to 4.518 sec., 328.70 mph.
Doug, who has won a class-high five national events in Top Fuel in 2006, now leads the POWERade points battle by 52 over second place and 62 points over third place with three events remaining on this year's schedule. Doug was the Top Fuel points runner-up in 2003 and 2004.
Doug's Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel teammate Dave Grubnic, driver of the pink and black StriVectin-SD dragster, mirrored his stable mate's march to the semi-final round. Grubnic, the No. 5 qualifier (4.533 sec., 326.95 mph), defeated No. 12 qualifier Morgan Lucas in round one, 4.592 sec., 290.57 mph to 4.625 sec., 310.55. In round two, Grubnic had a big-time match-up with third place POWERade points holder Brandon Bernstein. In a close race, Grubnic crossed the finish line first, 4.535 sec., 323.43 mph to 4.600 sec., 313.00 mph.
Grubnic then had to race rookie racer J.R. Todd in the semifinals. In yet another close race, Grubnic just missed getting into the final round as Todd got the win light, 4.521 sec., 325.77 mph to 4.510 sec., 327.82 mph.
Grubnic's second consecutive semi-final performance moves him up one position in the championship points ranks from 6th to 5th. He is now 273 points behind his teammate and leader Doug.
Doug's cousin Scott Kalitta, driver of the nitro-fueled Kalitta Air Toyota Solara Funny Car, qualified for Sunday's Funny Car final eliminations in the No. 14 position (4.840 sec., 320.97 mph). Scott was defeated by his first round opponent and No. 3 qualifier Eric Medlen, 7.552 sec., 112.62 mph to 4.792 sec., 323.04 mph. Scott's 7,000-horsepower flopper experienced tire shake almost immediately after the 25-year nitro racing veteran stepped on the throttle, and that led to his abandonment of the run.
The Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals was the 20th of 23 events in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
-credit: kalitta motorsports