Doug Kalitta makes second straight final in Topeka; Scott Kalitta reaches semi-final round Topeka, Kan., May 30, 2004 -- For the second consecutive weekend, Doug Kalitta and Brandon Bernstein met in the money round at an NHRA POWERade Drag...
Doug Kalitta makes second straight final in Topeka; Scott Kalitta reaches semi-final round
Topeka, Kan., May 30, 2004 -- For the second consecutive weekend, Doug Kalitta and Brandon Bernstein met in the money round at an NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series national event. Unfortunately for Doug and his Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster team, the outcome at the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka was not in his favor as it was one week ago in Chicago. Doug's final round effort of 4.874 seconds, 291.95 mph was not enough to get the win over Bernstein's 4.729-sec., 294.43-mph lap.
Doug, who remains third in Top Fuel championship points just 84 points behind new leader Bernstein, qualified for the event in the No. 9 position. His final-round appearance was his second consecutive title round at the Heartland Park Topeka drag strip. He lost to defending POWERade Top Fuel Champion Larry Dixon at last year's event.
After making his 100th consecutive start, the longest current streak in Top Fuel, Doug (5.167 sec., 275.79 mph) defeated John Smith (6.888 sec., 156.75 mph) in the opening round of racing.
After setting a Heartland Park Topeka track record for elapsed time of 4.487 sec. in the second round of Sunday's final eliminations against a losing Cory McClenathan (6.350 sec., 121.79 mph), Doug, a 16-time NHRA event winner, met up with his cousin and Kalitta Motorsports teammate Scott Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster, in the semifinals. The two drivers had met only once before (Dallas 2003), with Scott taking the round win then.
This time it was Doug's turn to take the win. Doug's 4.549-sec., 324.59-mph pass in his bright red Mac Tools hot rod bested Scott's 10.643-sec., 65.67-mph tire-smoking run to reach the 36th final round of his seven-year Top Fuel career.
Scott, a two-time NHRA Top Fuel Champion (1994-1995), defeated Brady Kalivoda (4.609 sec., 326.24 mph to 12.667 sec., 84.85 mph) in the first round. In round two, Scott drove his radically painted Mac Tools/Jesse James rail to a close win over then points leader Tony Schumacher (4.530 sec., 329.99 mph to 4.549 sec., 327.74 mph). Scott's semi-final showing moves him up from eighth to sixth in Top Fuel championship points. He started the day from the No. 4 qualifying spot.
In the third Team Kalitta nitro race car, "Aussie Dave" Grubnic (5.311 sec., 209.62 mph) piloted his jet black Kalitta Air car to a losing effort in round one against Dixon (4.582 sec., 326.00 mph). Grubnic entered Sunday's 16-car eliminations field in the No. 10 qualifying slot. The loss drops him one position in points from fourth to fifth.
The event in Topeka was the ninth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Team owner and drag racing legend Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta serves as crew chief for all three Team Kalitta rails. 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).