Doug Kalitta, U.S. Nationals Top Fuel champion Winner’s Circle Quotes

NHRA Media Photo

Doug Kalitta

Mac Tools Toyota Top Fuel dragster

Rd. 1 – Defeated Clay Millican, 3.721-3.721

Rd. 2 – Defeated Brittany Force, 3.757-3.761

Semis – Defeated Austin Prock, 3.766-8.991

Finals – Defeated Billy Torrence, 4.144-4.220

Notes:

– Doug Kalitta’s win today is his second of the season after previously winning the season-opening Winternationals in Pomona. It marks his first-ever win at the U.S. Nationals. Overall, it is the 46th Top Fuel win of his career – good for fifth all-time.  

– After winning his first U.S. Nationals title today, Kalitta will enter the Countdown in second-place as he sets his sights on his first Top Fuel title after finishing as the series runner-up four times, most recently in 2016.

– With Doug Kalitta’s victory today, Toyota drivers have now won 10 U.S. Nationals titles since 2010, including seven in Top Fuel.

– All five current Toyota drivers have now won a U.S. Nationals title.

Doug Kalitta Quotes:

Opening remarks:

 I just can’t say enough about everyone that’s been working on my Mac Tools Toyota. They were busting their butts – and Connie (Kalitta) was right there with them. Having him in our corner is awesome. What a day. It feels great to win a big race that Connie won.

I just can’t say enough about everyone on my team and how hard they worked to win this. The track conditions were incredible this weekend. The Safety Safari team busted their butts out there. The fans here are awesome. It hasn’t settled in that I won the U.S. Nationals.

This is your 22nd trip here and you’ve been so close in the past, did you ever wonder if you were ever going to win this thing?

I’m a real persistent guy, so I never give up. It does make you wonder. though. When we got by Clay I was thinking this is going to be a good opportunity and I’m just glad we were able to take advantage of it. 

On the first round vs. Clay Millican winning by .003 seconds in a holeshot:

These guys out here are all so good. You have to be right on your game every time and I’m not getting any younger, so you have to work a little harder at it. It worked out well just getting by Clay because those guys are always tough.

On his second round match-up vs. Brittany Force:

I just try to stay patient and make sure I go when that light comes on. We try not to worry about who’s in the other lane, but Brittany’s car has been on a rail. She qualified first, so we knew we had a tough run there and it was a close race. 

On the semifinals vs. Austin Prock:

We raced another JFR car in the semifinals. They’ve got quite an arsenal over there. Austin’s doing an awesome job and I think all of us are trying to keep up with how hard he’s hitting that tree. He left on me by a little bit, fortunately we were able to get by him.

Final round

We came out of the semifinals and had to stop to do a quick interview with FOX and I got back just in time to warm up my car. I was glad I was able to be the one to warm up my car because I didn’t want to change up anything the way our day was going. 

It was kind of ugly in the final. At 800 feet, it seemed like my car was just coasting with no power. I thought it was over, but the win light came on.  

Any idea of what went wrong there in the final?

It just started spinning the tires and I’m not sure if it threw the belt off or what happened. It pretty much died out there, but we were close enough to the line. That’s all that matters.

What’s your outlook going into the Countdown?

We’re looking forward to the Countdown. It’s what it’s all about for my time and everybody out here, so we’re going to give it our best. 

Obviously, my guys are going to have plenty of skip in our step heading into the Countdown – including me. We just have to keep our head down and go rounds and try to prevail. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I can’t wait to get to the next race and get this going. It’s going to be another great opportunity.

What’s the key in the Countdown?

You have to qualify well and it’s just all about going rounds. Last year, Steve (Torrence) didn’t allow the other teams any room to screw up. You have to have your ‘A’ game going at every race.

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