Team DHL looking to cap season with Nitro wins RICHMOND, Va., (Oct. 9, 2008) -- With only three events remaining in the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the bright yellow, Nitro-fueled, ...
Team DHL looking to cap season with Nitro wins
RICHMOND, Va., (Oct. 9, 2008) -- With only three events remaining in the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the bright yellow, Nitro-fueled, 8,000-horsepower DHL Top Fuel dragster, and his DHL/Kalitta Motorsports teammate and native Canadian Jeff Arend, driver of the Nitro-fueled DHL Toyota Solara Funny Car, are hoping for a strong finish to their respective straight-line campaigns beginning at the annual running of the Virginia NHRA Nationals this weekend, Oct. 10-12, at Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond, Va.
"I'm really excited about these last three races," Grubnic, a 46-year old resident of Ennis, Mont., said. "We've accepted the reality that we're not going to make a bid for the championship this year, so now our focus has changed to making dominating laps and going for the throat on every run. We have some very fast tracks coming up at the end of the season and Connie (Kalitta, legendary team owner and crew chief) has absolutely no problem 'turning up the wick'.
"We make as much or more horsepower than every other team out there, so if our DHL car gets a good baseline run going here at the end we could go out and get a couple of wins before we're done. I'm pumped!"
Grubnic is in 10th place in POWERade points and in the NHRA Countdown to 1 postseason.
Arend, a 46-year old resident of San Dimas, Calif., echoed his teammate's determination to get a couple check marks in the win column before season's end in Pomona, Calif., in mid-November.
"The DHL Funny Car is making big strides at every event now, so I'm very confident we can get in the winner's circle this year, maybe a couple of times. We're finding our performance stride right now -- combine that with all the hard work this DHL team puts in to every lap we make down the track and the attitude in our pit area is changing from hoping to win to expecting to win."
In early 2004, Grubnic was hired to drive for legendary team owner Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta and Kalitta Motorsports. In the fall of '04, Grubnic won the lucrative and coveted Budweiser Shootout in Las Vegas, becoming only the fourth driver in the special event's history to win its $100,000 prize in his first attempt. Grubnic picked up an emotional first NHRA national event win in May, 2005 in Topeka, Kans., to become the first non-native North American to win a Top Fuel trophy. He has one other event victory to date, the 2006 running of the famed Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.
Kalitta Motorsports team owner and drag racing legend Connie Kalitta chose Arend to drive the DHL Toyota Solara mount in late July to help preserve the legacy of his legendary son, Scott Kalitta, who died as result of a high-speed Funny Car qualifying accident in Englishtown, N.J., June 21. Arend is a 13-year Funny Car veteran with one NHRA Funny Car national event win to his credit -- Reading, Pa., 1996.
Qualifying for the Virginia NHRA Nationals begins Friday for the Nitro-fueled classes with two qualifying sessions at 2:00 p.m. (ET) and 4:30 p.m. Two more qualifying sessions take place Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. The top 16 qualified cars will race Sunday in final eliminations beginning at 11:00 a.m.