Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools team started the season with a win at the Winternationals and they capped off the regular season with a win at the U.S. Nationals to catapult themselves into the Countdown to the Championship as the No. 2 Top Fuel team. Kalitta is only 20 points out of the Mello Yello points lead heading into the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway this weekend. This is the second time Kalitta will enter the Countdown as the No. 2 driver. The veteran driver was the regular season champion in 2014 but finished fifth that season. Two years ago he started fifth and finished a strong third in his quest for his first Top Fuel world championship. The Mac Tools team is positioned once again for a serious run at the Mello Yello Top Fuel championship.
“I think this team has been solid all season,” said Kalitta. “We have been right in the mix with the top teams. Everything came together for us at the U.S. Nationals and we are ready for the Countdown. That was a big win for this team. We have six races to show what this Mac Tools team is made of and we will be ready for Reading.”
For Kalitta like every other Top Fuel Countdown contender he will be looking to keep a trend alive with a win at the Maple Grove Raceway national event. Since 2013 the Top Fuel winner in Reading has gone on to win the Mello Yello championship. Winners have come from a variety of starting points and but the one constant is a win at Maple Grove Raceway.
“I think you look at the performance opportunities at a track like Maple Grove and you can see where the winner from that race has a strong race car,” said Kalitta. “I would definitely like to keep that streak alive if we get a win this weekend. The biggest thing I am focusing on is just being consistent and not making any mistakes. You can’t let any outside pressure distract you at this time of the year.”
The Mac Tools Top Fuel racer has one victory at the NHRA Nationals in Reading picking up the win over legendary Top Fuel racer Kenny Bernstein in 2002. Two years later Kalitta was the No. 1 qualifier. Since then Kalitta has been battling to reach the finals and grab that second career win.
“The track has a lot of history. You see record runs just about every year. There are a lot of great teams in the Countdown and we are just going to give it our best shot starting on Friday,” added Kalitta.
2018 NHRA Maple Grove Highlights: Qual. No. 8; Beat Richie Crampton; Lost to Clay Millican
Last Event Recap (2019 NHRA U.S. Nationals): Qual. No. 8; WINNER; Beat Clay Millican, Brittany Force, Austin Prock, Billy Torrence
Quotable: Kalitta on heading into Countdown: “I am excited. We have a lot of momentum from the U.S. Nationals win. We just need to keep charging and doing the things we know how to do.”
Career Stats: 507 events, 500 starts, 677 round wins, 46 wins, 98 finals, 50 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual. No. 7, WINNER; Beat Scott Palmer, Billy Torrence, Terry McMillen and Steve Torrence
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 5; Beat Jim Maroney; Lost to Jordan Vandergriff
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 11; Beat Terry McMillen, Steve Torrence; Lost to Clay Millican
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 7; Beat Terry McMillen and Steve Chrisman; Beat Steve Torrent and Richie Crampton; Lost to Mike Salinas and Brittany Force
Houston: Qual. No. 8; Beat Terry McMillen; Lost to Brittany Force
Charlotte1: Qual. No. 4; Beat Richie Crampton and Lex Joon; Lost to Clay Millican and Leah Pritchett
Atlanta: Qual. No. 3; Lost to Shawn Reed
Richmond: Qual. No. 5; Lost to Scott Palmer
Chicago: Qual. No. 5; Beat Shawn Reed, Pat Dakin; Lost to Mike Salinas
Topeka: Qual. No. 5; Beat Leah Pritchett; Lost to Antron Brown
Bristol: Qual. No. 1; Beat Cameron Ferre, Terry McMillen; Lost to Mike Salinas
Norwalk: Qual. No. 13; Beat Clay Millican; Lost to Steve Torrence
Epping: Qual. No. 3; Lost to Terry McMillen
Denver: Qual. No. 10; Lost to Clay Millican
Sonoma: Qual. No. 5; Beat Scott Palmer; Lost to Antron Brown
Seattle: Qual. No. 8; Beat Scott Palmer; Lost to Mike Salinas
Brainerd: Qual. No. 7; Beat Terry McMillen, Steve Torrence; Lost to Mike Salinas
Indianapolis: Qual. No. 8; WINNER; Beat Clay Millican, Brittany Force, Austin Prock and Billy Torrence
Kalitta Motorsports PR