Doug Kalitta wins again in Sonoma; Team Kalitta takes fourth NHRA win of 2004 Sonoma, Calif, Aug. 1, 2004 - In a rematch of the final round from just a few NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events ago in St. Louis, the Kalitta Motorsports team ...
Doug Kalitta wins again in Sonoma; Team Kalitta takes fourth NHRA win of 2004
Sonoma, Calif, Aug. 1, 2004 - In a rematch of the final round from just a few NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events ago in St. Louis, the Kalitta Motorsports team entries of Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red Mac Tools flagship Top Fuel dragster, and "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, driver of the Red Line Oil Top Fuel dragster in its primary sponsorship debut, squared off to run for the title at the FRAM Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway Sunday.
Just as it was in St. Louis, Kalitta took his Mac Tools hot rod to the winner's circle again at the scenic Northern California dragstrip. Kalitta won the Sonoma event three consecutive times from 1998 to 2000. This win is his 18th in his seven-year career and third in 2004 (Chicago 1 and St. Louis) in six final round appearances.
Kalitta began Sunday's eliminations from the No. 1 qualifying spot (4.574 seconds, 323.66 mph), his second top qualifying effort of the season (Pomona 1). He defeated Steven Chrisman in the opening round. In round two, he sent Doug Herbert home early to set up a huge match-up with Top Fuel championship points leader Tony Schumacher in the semifinals. In his 30th round win of the 2004 campaign, Kalitta traversed the quarter mile quicker to get the very important round win and trip to the finals to meet Grubnic. In the all-Team Kalitta finals, Doug's 4.678-sec., 315.05-mph lap was too much for his teammate's 9.752-sec., 86.37-mph attempt.
"What a great win for our Mac Tools team," Kalitta exclaimed. "We really needed this one. We have struggled in the past couple of races, and it was great to get back on track and back in the winner's circle.
"The points deal just keeps getting tougher and tougher. We're at the point in the season that every round is important because the competition in our class is so strong. We closed up on Schumacher some this weekend so that will help. It's great for our whole team that it was two Kalitta cars in the final. I wish we could do this every time."
Kalitta began the event 110 points behind leader Schumacher, but leaves the event only 66 markers behind in second place.
Driving the specially painted Red Line Oil dragster in its inaugural event in celebration of the California-based company's 25th anniversary, Grubnic piloted his 7000+ horsepower rail to round wins over Mitch King, David Baca and Brandon Bernstein en route to the money round battle with his teammate.
"What a great way to say thank you to Red Line Oil," Grubnic, a native of Brisbane, Australia, proclaimed. "It was another great weekend for me and my team. I'm so glad that we could go out there and do well for Red Line Oil, Mac Tools, Technicoat and all of our sponsors. I'm also very happy that my teammate closed in on the points leader. This team is here to win the championship, and that's all that really matters."
Grubnic's final round showing is the fifth of his ten-year career and third of 2004. He qualified for the event in the No. 2 position and moved up to fourth in points by way of his great performance.
After qualifying fourth, two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion (1994 and 1995) and winner of the Denver event just two races ago, Scott Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster, was not as fortunate as his two teammates. Scott's race car shook its large rear tires early in his first round race with Rhonda Hartman-Smith to eventually lose traction and the round. Scott drops from fourth to fifth in points due to the early departure.
In the past four NHRA national events, Kalitta Motorsports' race cars have made an incredible six final round appearances.
Team owner and drag racing legend Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta serves as crew chief for all three Team Kalitta entries. He is Doug's uncle and Scott's dad. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Rahn Tobler (Mac Tools dragster), Jim Oberhofer (Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster) and Jon Oberhofer (Kalitta Air dragster).
The Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals in Sonoma was the 15th event of the $50 million, 23-event 2004 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.