GAINESVILLE, Fla., (March 17, 2014) – Doug Kalitta, driver of the 10,000-horsepower “Big Red” Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, claimed his first Top Fuel title trophy of the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Sunday during eliminations of the 45th annual NHRA Gatornationals, one of the most prestigious and historic events on the NHRA calendar, at Auto Plus Raceway at Gainesville (Fla.).
Kalitta and the Mac Tools team made their way to the Gatornationals winner’s circle by defeating Antron Brown in the Top Fuel final round. Kalitta zipped down the 1,000-ft. drag strip with an impressive 3.830-second, 323.74-mph run to get the win as Brown’s dragster struggled to maintain traction, 5.106 sec., 147.50 mph. The win in Gainesville is Kalitta’s third at the famed event (2005 and 2000). Kalitta now has 34 NHRA Top Fuel trophies on his mantle which ties him for sixth on the all-time Top Fuel wins list.
“We’ve been trying to get a win all year, and we’ve been right on the cusp,” Doug, a 49-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., said. “We have great support among all four of our teams, and that is invaluable. Jim (Oberhofer, crew chief), Troy (Fasching, assistant crew chief) and the entire Mac Tools team have been tremendous. They give me a great race car to drive. It’s a great feeling.”
“Winning the Gatornationals is one of the big ones on the list that every driver wants to win. I’ve been lucky enough to win it three times now. It’s amazing for me and my team.”
Kalitta, the No. 4 qualifier (3.819 sec., 321.04 mph), defeated Brittany Force, teammate David Grubnic (Optima Batteries/Advance Auto Parts Top Fuel dragster) and Steve Torrence en route to the final round, the 70th final of his 17-year career.
Kalitta, the nephew of drag racing icon and team owner Connie “the Bounty Hunter” Kalitta, has started the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel championship campaign by winning nine of the available 12 elimination rounds. He raced to a runner-up finish at the season-opening event in Pomona, Calif. and to the semifinals in Phoenix. He now needs only 17 more round wins to reach 500 in his illustrious career. He also claimed the No. 1 qualifying spots in the first two events to raise his total to 38 career No. 1 qualifying spots.
Kalitta continues to lead the Mello Yello Top Fuel championship points (309), 53 points ahead of Brown in second place.
With his win in Gainesville, Kalitta also assures him and the Mac Tools team a spot in the Traxxas Top Fuel Nitro Shootout, a $100,000 race within a race to be conducted at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Saturday, Aug. 30.
About Kalitta Motorsports
Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Kalitta Motorsports is a Top Fuel and Funny Car drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. The team was founded and is owned by drag racing icon Connie “the Bounty Hunter” Kalitta. For more than 50 years, Connie has been involved in the sport as a driver, tuner, and an owner. Kalitta Motorsports is one of the most successful teams in the history of auto racing with five world championships and over 50 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.
Del Worsham drives the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car for Team Kalitta. Alexis DeJoria pilots the Patrón XO Café Toyota Camry Funny Car. Native Australian David Grubnic drives the OPTIMA Batteries/Advance Auto Parts Top Fuel dragster while Connie’s nephew, Doug Kalitta, pilots the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. Connie serves as head tuner for all Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Nick Boninfante on the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, by Tommy DeLago and Glen Huszar on the Patrón XO Café Toyota Camry Funny Car, and by Jim Oberhofer on the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. Connie serves as crew chief on the OPTIMA Batteries/Advance Auto Parts Top Fuel dragster.
Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include Mac Tools, Patrón XO Café, Red Line Oil, Technicoat and Summit Racing Equipment.
For more info about Kalitta Motorsports including exclusive content such as videos, photos and more, please visit www.teamkalitta.com. Follow Us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TeamKalitta. Like Us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/KalittaMotorsports. Check out videos about Team Kalitta on our YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/TeamKalitta. Follow us on Instagram: www.instagram.com/TeamKalitta.