Two races into the 2019 Countdown and Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, holds a slim lead in the Mello Yello point standings. A final round appearance and quarterfinal finish at the first two races have the Mac Tools team on the verge of a break-out event. The veteran driver is hoping the NTK Carolina NHRA Nationals this weekend is that event. With sixteen rounds of racing remaining in the 2019 season every point counts.
“We are not getting ahead of ourselves by any means with this points lead,” said Kalitta. “There are too many tough cars out there and four more races. Anything can happen. We just are glad to be in control of our own destiny. If we take care of our business we will be just fine. These next couple of races starting with Charlotte will be critical for us.”
Two years ago Kalitta took four win lights at the Carolina NHRA Nationals defeating teammate Richie Crampton in the final. The Mac Tools team left Charlotte that weekend with the points lead and five races left in the season. The previous year Kalitta was runner-up to Antron Brown at the fall Charlotte race.
“We have had some good races at zMax Dragway in the fall,” said Kalitta. “The win in 2017 was big and we are looking to get another Countdown win this weekend. No one is getting crowned Top Fuel champion this Sunday but you definitely want hold onto the point lead or keep it within a round. It will be an exciting weekend for sure.”
Kalitta has three final round appearances at the fall race in Charlotte. In 2016 he came up just short against multi-time Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon. The consistency gives the 46-time Top Fuel race winner a feeling of confidence going into the NTK Carolina Nationals.
“You always like going back to tracks where you have had success. The fans in Charlotte are great and this Mac Tools team will be ready to hit the ground running on Friday. We want to get a good jump on qualifying on the first day,” added Kalitta.
2018 NHRA Carolina Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 5; Beat Scott Palmer; Lost to Mike Salinas
Last Event Recap (2019 NHRA Midwest Nationals): Qual. No. 10; Beat Richie Crampton; Lost to Billy Torrence
Quotable: Kalitta on heading to Charlotte with points lead: “There are four races left and we are heading to Charlotte with the Mello Yello Top Fuel point lead. It is one round but we will be looking to extend that this weekend. The Mac Tools team is focused on getting a great qualifying position and then going rounds on Sunday.”
Career Stats: 509 events, 502 starts, 681 round wins, 46 wins, 99 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
Reading: Qual. No. 3; RUNNER-UP; Beat Smax Smith, Mike Salinas, Austin Prock; Lost to Richie Crampton
St. Louis: Qual. No. 10; Beat Richie Crampton; Lost to Billy Torrence
Kalitta Motorsports PR