NHRA Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta reaches semifinals in Richmond; Cousin Scott Kalitta reaches semifinals in Funny Car for the first time in 2006 RICHMOND, Va., (Oct. 15, 2006) -- NHRA Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta, driver of the ...
NHRA Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta reaches semifinals in Richmond; Cousin Scott Kalitta reaches semifinals in Funny Car for the first time in 2006
RICHMOND, Va., (Oct. 15, 2006) -- NHRA Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red, 8,000-horsepower Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, reached the semi-final round for the second consecutive NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event Sunday at the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond, Va.
Under a cloud of unwarranted suspicion of team orders, Doug, a semi-finalist at the previous event in Reading, Penn., and No. 4 qualifier (4.549 seconds, 309.56 mph) in Richmond, defeated his Team Kalitta teammate and No. 13 qualifier Hillary Will in the opening round of final eliminations in a very close, side-by-side race down the quarter-mile, 4.587 sec., 309.20 mph to 4.599 sec., 304.74, to set up a big second round match-up with second place championship points occupier Brandon Bernstein.
Doug, in the marginal right lane, was certainly an underdog against Bernstein as the three Top Fuel second-round contests just before their showdown were all won in the left lane. Doug got away from the starting line first (.038 sec. to .084 sec.), and as Bernstein had mid-track traction problems, Doug sailed through the finish line for the win, 4.601 sec., 308.85 mph to 6.553 sec., 122.09 mph.
In the semifinals, Doug and his opponent Cory McClenathan both had problems with traction at the hit of the throttle. Both Top Fuel veterans struggled to get their nitro-fueled rails to regain grip on the race track. When the smoke finally cleared, the win light was on in McClenathan's lane, 8.336 sec., 111.89 mph to 6.984 sec., 227.80 mph, to end Doug's attempt for his sixth win on 2006.
Doug, who has won a class-high five NHRA national events in Top Fuel in 2006, now leads the POWERade points by 83 over Bernstein and 89 points over third place with two events remaining in 2006. Doug was the Top Fuel points runner-up in 2003 and 2004.
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 lofty No. 4 position (4.770 sec., 310.77 mph) spot on the ladder, his best qualifying effort of 2006. Scott, who going into Virginia's commonwealth had only won four elimination rounds, faced off against No. 13 qualifier Ron Capps, who has won 36 rounds this year. In an exciting drag race, Scott got the win, 4.808 sec., 301.67 mph to 4.891 sec., 299.73 mph, to move into the quarterfinals.
In round two, Scott rolled to the starting line against another venerable nitro veteran Jim Head. Scott ran an identical elapsed time as the round prior and once again turned on the winning illumination at the finish line, 4.808 sec., 293.86 mph to 12.619 sec., 74.48 mph, to reach his first semifinal of the season.
In the semifinals, Scott's quest for his second career Funny Car win ended valiantly against Eric Medlen. Scott and his friend Medlen raced down the entire quarter-mile right next to each other, but Medlen pulled away at the very end to get the win, 4.856 sec., 297.29 mph to 4.796 sec., 303.09 mph.
Kalitta Motorsports' Dave Grubnic, driver of the pink and black StriVectin-SD dragster, qualified in the No. 9 position (4.581 sec., 310.91 mph). Like his teammate Will, his day ended early when he was defeated in the first round, 4.902 sec., 293.98 mph to 4.592 sec., 311.63 mph, by McClenathan.
Kalitta Motorsports, based in Ypsilanti, Mich., just a few miles west of downtown Detroit, congratulates the 2006 Detroit Tigers on their American League Championship and subsequent berth in the World Series.
The Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals was the 21st of 23 events in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
-credit: kalitta motorsports