NHRA's Dave Grubnic ready to rebound with round wins in Las Vegas

By Todd Myers

At the previous NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event in Houston last weekend, native Australian Dave Grubnic, driver of the pink and black StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, was unexpectedly ousted in the first round of final eliminations after gaining positive momentum by winning the Top Fuel title at the event previous to Houston in Gainesville, Fla., the second win of his career.

Now, as the stars of the world's quickest and fastest motorsport transcend upon the bright lights of Las Vegas for the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend, April 6-9, Grubnic and his StriVectin-SD crew are looking for some big numbers and big money in the city that is famous for often granting both wishes.

"Drag racing is fickle," Grubnic said. "Man, you're on top of the world one second and then out in the first round the next. It's not like we went out and smoked the tires in Houston; we just got out ran, plain and simple.

"Now, we get to go back to Vegas. It's one of the best venues we have in the NHRA. There's always a lot of fans and the weather is almost always perfect. We'll try to get back on the winning side at The Strip and go some rounds into eliminations. A little Vegas luck would be good too. Maybe if we get the win, Connie (Kalitta, team owner, crew chief and drag racing legend) will let us try to double up our winnings in one of the casinos - Nah, probably not. We better not even ask him that one."

In early 2004, Grubnic, a 43-year old resident of Ennis, Mont., was hired to drive for Kalitta Motorsports after several years of driving for teams with minimal funding. Since joining Team Kalitta, Grubnic, now in his 12th season as a Top Fuel driver, has posted consecutive top-five championship points finishes. In 2004, he won the lucrative and coveted Budweiser Shootout in Las Vegas, becoming only the fourth driver in the special event's 20-year history to win its $100,000 prize in his first attempt, and he picked up an emotional and long overdue first NHRA national event win in May, 2005 in Topeka, Kans., to become the first non-native North American to win a Top Fuel trophy.

The NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals begins Friday, April 7, for the Top Fuel class with two qualifying sessions at 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Two more qualifying sessions follow on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. The top sixteen qualified cars will race Sunday in final eliminations beginning at 11:00 a.m.

All times and dates subject to change.

The NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals is the 5th of 23 national events in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.


About Kalitta Motorsports

Based in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Kalitta Motorsports is a Top Fuel and Funny Car drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) POWERade Drag Racing Series. The racing operation was started in 1959 by now legendary drag racer and team owner Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta. His son Scott Kalitta drives the Kalitta Air Funny Car. Scott's cousin, Connie's nephew, Doug Kalitta drives the flagship Top Fuel dragster for Mac Tools. Native Australian Dave Grubnic drives the StriVectin-SD Top Fuel dragster, while Hillary Will drives the Kalitta Motorsports-managed and Ken Black-owned Top Fuel dragster.

Connie serves as head tuner for all Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by crew chiefs Rahn Tobler (Mac Tools dragster), Jim Oberhofer (Hillary Will-driven dragster), Jon Oberhofer (StriVectin-SD dragster), Johnny West (Kalitta Air Funny Car) and Larry Meyer (Kalitta Air Funny Car co-crew chief).

Associate sponsors on all Kalitta Motorsports' race cars include Red Line Oil, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies, Zantrex-3 and Fischer Honda.