Topeka: Dave Grubnic preview

Defending Topeka Top Fuel champ Dave Grubnic headed to heartland with new car and same goal TOPEKA, Kans., (May 23, 2006) -- One year ago native Australian and NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series veteran Dave Grubnic, driver of the pink and black,...

Defending Topeka Top Fuel champ Dave Grubnic headed to heartland with new car and same goal

TOPEKA, Kans., (May 23, 2006) -- One year ago native Australian and NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series veteran Dave Grubnic, driver of the pink and black, 7,000 horsepower StriVectin-SD dragster, went to the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka in Topeka, Kans., in search of his lifetime goal of winning an NHRA national event in Top Fuel, drag racing's quickest and fastest professional class.

After trying for over a decade, that victorious dream was finally realized last May in Topeka to eternally inscribe Grubnic's name in auto racing history as the first non-North American to win an NHRA Top Fuel event. Now as Grubnic and the stars of the world's most exciting motorsport return to the annual event in Kansas this weekend, May 25-28, he's comfortable with an unfamiliar moniker and enthusiastic to replicate last year's glory.

"I've never been in this position before," Grubnic said. "This will be the first time going into an event as the defending champion. It feels kind of good really. I'm very excited about racing again in Topeka and defending our title. Last year, we were running our Zantrex-3 car so I'm looking forward to trying to get our new StriVectin-SD dragster some time in the winner's circle."

The StriVectin-SD team unveiled a new Attac (chassis) race car at the previous NHRA event in Columbus, Ohio, as well as a new one-piece carbon fiber body. The new rail made a spectacular debut in its inaugural lap down the paved quarter-mile with a 4.558-second, 321.96-mph posting and advanced to the semi-final round of eliminations in Columbus.

"Our new car is running great and our team is really working well together, so I'm expecting to go some more [elimination] rounds in Topeka this year."

In early 2004, Grubnic, a 43-year old resident of Ennis, Mont., was hired to drive for Kalitta Motorsports after several years of driving for teams with minimal funding. Since joining Team Kalitta, Grubnic, now in his 12th season as a Top Fuel driver, has posted consecutive top-five championship points finishes. In 2004, he won the lucrative and coveted Budweiser Shootout in Las Vegas, becoming only the fourth driver in the special event's 20-year history to win its $100,000 prize in his first attempt. He also won the prestigious Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., in March of this year.

-km

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