Topeka: Doug Kalitta preview

Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta going for fifth straight NHRA final in Topeka; Kalitta Motorsports teammates Scott Kalitta and "Aussie Dave" Grubnic ready to fight for Top Fuel title in heartland Topeka, Kans., May 25, 2005 - Ann Arbor,...

Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta going for fifth straight NHRA final in Topeka; Kalitta Motorsports teammates Scott Kalitta and "Aussie Dave" Grubnic ready to fight for Top Fuel title in heartland

Topeka, Kans., May 25, 2005 - Ann Arbor, Mich., native Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, hopes to extend his NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship points lead and extend his streak of consecutive final-round appearances to five after his career-best fourth straight final at the previous NHRA event in Columbus, Ohio.

This weekend, May 26-29, at the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka in Topeka, Kans., Doug and his Kalitta Motorsports teammates Scott Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster, and "Aussie Dave" Grubnic, driver of the Zantrex-3 Top Fuel dragster, are all hoping for Top Fuel glory in America's heartland with their 7,000 + horsepower, nitro-fueled race cars.

Doug was runner-up for the Top Fuel title in Topeka in 2004. Also in the 2004 event, he set the HPT track record for elapsed time, 4.487 seconds. He had runner-up finishes at HPT in 2000 and 2003, but he has yet to win the event.

Two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) Doug, 40, is an eight-year Top Fuel veteran with 22 career NHRA wins in 45 final-round appearances. He is a former USAC National Sprint Car Champion (1994). He holds the time slip for the quickest run in NHRA history (4.420 sec., Chicago 1 - 2004). His career-best speed is 335.57 mph. He won the 1998 Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner for NHRA rookie excellence.

Doug has won three events (Gainesville, Bristol and Atlanta) so far in the first eight events of 2005. He has been in five of the last six NHRA final rounds (Gainesville, Las Vegas 1, Bristol, Atlanta and Columbus). He leads the championship points chase by 43 over Tony Schumacher.

Two-time Top Fuel World Champion (1994-1995) and Snead Island, Fla., resident Scott Kalitta, 43, has had enormous success in Topeka. He has won an event at HTP a record-holding six times (1993 (2), 1995 (2), 1996 and 1997). He was No. 1 qualifier at HTP in the first event of 1993 and in the second event of 1995.

Scott has 17 (16 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car) NHRA national event victories in his 24-year career. His career-best elapsed time is 4.455 sec., and his career-best speed is 333.95 mph. He won the 2005 NHRA season-opening Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. He is currently eighth in points.

Unlike his Kalitta Motorsports teammate Scott, fifth place points holder and native Australian Grubnic, 42, has not fared so well in Topeka. In eight career appearances so far at HTP, Grubnic has yet to win a round of eliminations.

He has made seven final-round appearances in his career but has yet to score his first NHRA national event win. He has made semi-final appearances in three out of eight events so far this season (Pomona 1, Phoenix and Las Vegas 1).His career-best elapsed time is 4.448 sec., and his career-best speed is 333.58 mph.

Grubnic won the 2004 Budweiser Shootout special event in Las Vegas last fall.

Kalitta Motorsports NHRA-only three car Top Fuel dragster team has made six final-round appearances in the first eight NHRA national events of 2005 with four wins (Doug - 3, Scott - 1).

The O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals begins Friday, May 27, for the Top Fuel class with two qualifying sessions. Two more qualifying sessions follow on Saturday. The top sixteen qualified cars will race Sunday in final eliminations.

The O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals is the ninth of 23 national events in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

-kr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Scott Kalitta , Jesse James