Doug Kalitta takes Top Fuel title in Topeka TOPEKA, Kans. (May 28, 2006) -- NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series nine-year veteran Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red, 8,000 horsepower Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, claimed his third win of the ...
Doug Kalitta takes Top Fuel title in Topeka
TOPEKA, Kans. (May 28, 2006) -- NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series nine-year veteran Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red, 8,000 horsepower Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, claimed his third win of the 2006 NHRA season in Topeka, Kans., Sunday on the paved quarter-mile drag strip at Heartland Park Topeka.
Kalitta's win of the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals came in the 50th final-round appearance of his drag racing career. The title in Topeka, Kalitta's first at HPT, is his 27th NHRA national event win. It is also Kalitta's third win in the previous four events. He won back-to-back events in Bristol, Tenn., and Atlanta.
"This is a good one," Kalitta, the No. 3 qualifier (4.614 seconds, 319.98 mph), said. "It was important for us to capitalize today after Melanie [Troxel] got knocked out early.
"Our Mac Tools team really came through today and all this weekend. The conditions here were tough. It was hot all weekend and the track temperatures were really getting up there, but my guys did a great job of getting our race car down the track all eight laps (four qualifying) under power. I'm really proud of them and their efforts. They deserve all the credit for us getting the win today."
Kalitta remains in 2nd place in POWERade championship points. He closed the points gap to leader Troxel to just 96 after she was ousted in the second round.
In the opening round of final eliminations, Kalitta won a close side-by-side battle with Rod Fuller, 4.667 sec., 310.20 mph to 4.684 sec., 303.23 mph. The second round saw a match-up of Kalitta Motorsports teammates as Kalitta and his team faced off against the StriVectin-SD dragster crew and driver Dave Grubnic. Grubnic's nitro-fueled rail lost traction almost immediately after the start of the race, and that allowed Kalitta to take the round win, 4.748 sec., 293.73 mph to 9.990 sec., 88.81 mph. In the semifinals, Kalitta cruised past Morgan Lucas, 4.712 sec., 304.39 mph to 5.016 sec., 241.37 mph, to set up a rematch of the 2004 Topeka Top Fuel final round with Brandon Bernstein. Two years ago, Bernstein got the best of Kalitta, but Kalitta avenged that loss by getting the win today, 4.675 sec., 310.98 mph to 4.691 sec., 307.09 mph.
The Mac Tools dragster team led by crew chief Rahn Tobler also won the $3,000 Full Throttle Pit Crew Challenge in Topeka for excellence in consistency and performance during qualifying for the event.
Kalitta, a 41-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., is a two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) and the 1998 Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner for rookie excellence. Before joining the quarter-mile set, Doug raced in open-wheel competition and won the 1994 USAC National Sprint Car Championship.
The O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals was the 9th of 23 national events in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.