ENNIS, Texas – Doug Kalitta has proven this season that his Mac Tools dragster is one of the quickest machines in the class, supported by his category-best five No. 1 qualifying positions.
As the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship heads to the famed Texas Motorplex near Dallas for round No. 2 of NHRA’s playoffs, Kalitta is in the championship mix, sitting fourth in the series standings, only 43 points out of first place.
Kalitta is certainly one of the pre-race favorites to win the upcoming AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, Sept. 19-22 at Texas Motorplex. Last season, defending world champion Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Bob Tasca III (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Michael Ray (Pro Stock Motorcycle) earned victories at the event.
Kalitta is riding a bit of momentum from posting back-to-back semifinal finishes at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis and this past weekend’s Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte.
He has been able to produce a bunch of round wins, 23 to be exact, but so far this season the veteran driver just hasn’t been able to add to his career win total of 32 victories.
He has remained competitive in the series standings by accumulating a bunch of qualifying bonus points. He’s among the category leaders in that department, having racked up 52 of the 3-2-1 points during qualifying rounds this season.
With only one runner-up finish in 2013, at Norwalk, pure basic statistics would suggest Kalitta is due a victory anytime soon. He hasn’t won since July 2010 in Denver.
There are five playoff races remaining: at Dallas, St. Louis, Reading, Pa., Las Vegas and Pomona, Calif., and Kalitta has visited winner’s circle at each of those tracks. A victory at this point in the Countdown playoffs would be huge in the 49-year-old driver’s quest to win his first world championship title.
“We are having a great year so far, but we haven’t been able to break through and get a win,” Kalitta said. “With only five events left time is definitely running out on us, but we’re all very confident we can get it done – Hopefully in Dallas.”
Like zMAX Dragway, the Texas Motorplex will offer the teams an all-concrete racing surface. The Motorplex was the first track to feature the full-length track surface in a single compound and is also recognized as the first super-stadium of drag racing.
“We’ve had some success racing our Mac Tools dragster in Dallas before,” Kalitta said. “We were able to grab the trophy in 2002 and we’ve been a finalist a few times. It’s a great track. Being able to race consecutive weekends on concrete tracks should be a help for Jim and all of the crew chiefs. The tune-ups of nitro cars are so on-the-edge anyway so to have just a little of the same variable should help.”
Apart from the great racing surface and intense competition of the Countdown, Kalitta says heading to Texas always offers a fun time for his Kalitta Motorsports team.