Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals
Kalitta wins again, repeats his 2005 repeat
Kalitta , the No. 2 qualifier (4.529 seconds, 324.67 mph), and his crew chief Rahn Tobler both proved why they are considered by their peers and fans alike as two of the best in their respective positions Sunday. Tobler tuned the Mac Tools rail to three consecutive 4.4-second quarter-mile laps in eliminations including a season-best 4.469-sec., blast in the final round. Behind the wheel, Kalitta ’s average reaction time on the starting line during eliminations was a very impressive 0.054 sec. His opponents averaged 0.084 sec., against him. Kalitta had a starting line advantage in every round and saved his best, 0.033 sec., for the finals.
In round one, Kalitta cruised to an easy win over a tire-smoking David Baca, 4.550 sec., 324.20 mph to 8.009 sec., 96.71 mph. In the quarterfinals, Kalitta faced off against the defending Top Fuel points champion dragster tuned by Alan Johnson. Kalitta , Tobler and the Mac Tools crew were ready for a colossal battle, but very early traction loss from his opponent let Kalitta again rocket to the finish line uncontested, 4.473 sec., 325.37 mph to 6.952 sec., 130.35 mph.
In that second-round run, the Mac Tools dragster’s parachutes, used to rapidly slow his nitro-fueled race car, became tangled in the dragster’s wheelie bar and did not deploy as they should. Kalitta was unable to slow his car enough with just the brakes as he drove into the pea gravel trap at the very end of Atlanta Dragway. When the car and driver returned to the pits, a tremendous effort by all of the Kalitta Motorsports team members unfolded, including crewmen from Dave Grubnic’s, Scott Kalitta’s, and Hillary Will’s teams there to help clean and repair the battered red race car. They all helped Kalitta and his team make extremely quick mends and roll to the staring line in the semifinals to race Larry Dixon.
Kalitta roared past
“What a great effort by Rahn and my guys and our whole Kalitta Motorsports team today,” Kalitta said. “Everything just fell into place. Rahn had the tune-up dead on and I was able to do my job on the line. I can’t say enough about the whole effort this weekend. I want to thank all of the other Team Kalitta crews for coming over to help after the second round. I’ve never seen so many guys working on the same race car before. Without all of their help, we would’ve had a hard time getting ready for the semis.”
Kalitta moved up one position in POWERade championship points from third to second. He is now only 132 points away from the leader.
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