Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster team will roll into The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend looking for one more round win as they tackle four-wide racing for the first time in 2021. It has been over a year since any NHRA teams have made runs in the unique four-wide format and for Kalitta who raced to a quarterfinal finish at the season opening Gatornationals the Vegas race will be a welcome challenge. The veteran driver has raced to the final quad on three occasions including the 2014 Vegas Nationals but he has never been first to the stripe. In all three races Kalitta grabbed runner-up honors.
“I have come close a couple times in the four-wide races but you never know what can happen when you get four race cars on the track at the same time,” said Kalitta, who has one win at The Strip. “There is a lot going on for sure. I just try and do my regular routine. Not much changes other than you have a couple more race cars out there. I know my crew chief Rob Flynn and Troy Fasching have a good Las Vegas tune-up so we will see what happens.”
In 2019 Kalitta was runner-up at the last Four-Wide National event contested in Charlotte. The pandemic cancelled both four-wide races in 2020. His previous successes in the unique format include the runner-up finish in Las Vegas in 2014 and another runner-up in Charlotte in 2010. The four-wide race gives drivers and teams the benefit advancing to the next round if they are either first or second to the finish line in each of the first two rounds or quads. The final quad sets up the winner, runner-up and semifinalists.
“You have to pay attention when you are getting staged and remember what lane you are in,” said Kalitta. “You just have to run your race and know that if you smoke the tires you need to try and recover because you don’t know what could be happening in the other lanes. It makes it exciting for the fans for sure.”
The past three seasons Kalitta won the season opening Winternationals, traditionally contested at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona. The revised schedule for 2021 started the season at the historic Gatornationals nearly a month ago and has teams racing in Las Vegas this weekend and then on to Atlanta in two weeks. Kalitta’s streak of winning the first race was broken with a quarterfinal finish in Florida but the championship contending team is focused on the long term season results.
“We have had good luck starting the season with wins at the Winternationals. We will get back to Pomona at some point hopefully and we’ll see how it goes. We had a great race car at the Gatornationals and I have a lot of confidence in this Mac Tools team,” added Kalitta.
2019 NHRA Vegas Four-Wide Highlights (event not contested in 2020): Qual. No. 7; Beat Terry McMillen and Steve Chrisman, beat Steve Torrence and Richie Crampton, Lost to Mike Salinas and Brittany Force
Last Event Recap (2021 NHRA Gatornationals: Qual. No. 4; Beat Arthur Allen; Lost to Justin Ashley
Career Stats: 525 events, 518 starts, 712 round wins, 49 wins, 105 finals, 50 No. 1 qualifiers
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 4; Beat Arthur Allen; Lost to Justin Ashley.
Kalitta Motorsports PR