Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster team will be heading to the 40th installment of the NHRA Southern Nationals this weekend with momentum from their most recent runner-up finish in Las Vegas as well as the confidence from a full day of testing earlier in the week. The Mac Tools team, currently No. 4 in the Camping World Drag Racing Series standing, will be hitting Atlanta Dragway looking for their fourth win at the long-standing NHRA facility which will be hosting its final national event this weekend.
“Winning the last Southern Nationals would be something very cool for sure,” said Kalitta, who has wins at the Southern Nationals in 2005, 2006 and 2016. “My Mac Tools dragster has been running really well, so we will be trying to make sure we are the last dragster down the track at the Southern Nationals. My guys are rock solid and super hungry to win like me. It has been fun working with these guys and going rounds at the first two races of the season.”
The 2016 win was a race that still holds the distinction of being the closest race in Top Fuel history, decided by less than .0001 of a second. Kalitta barely edged out current teammate J.R. Todd to get the win light by a margin that could barely be seen with the human eye. The race is recognized as one of the highlight events of his 20 years with Mac Tools as his primary sponsor.
“It drew a lot of attention since the race was so close. I was just glad we got the win for Mac Tools with my guys,” said Kalitta, who has 49 career victories. “Atlanta Dragway just has a ton of history, and I have won there numerous times. The fans have always been great and super supportive.”
In addition to his three wins Kalitta has two runner-up appearances to go along with two No. 1 qualifier efforts. He put the Mac Tools dragster at the top of the field in 2014 and 2016.
This season the perennial championship contender is off to another fast start. Two weeks ago racing in the unique four-wide format Kalitta outdistanced all his competitors through three rounds of four-wide racing with the exception of Steve Torrence in the final quad. The tough rivalry between the two competitors is sure to be one of the top stories of the 2021 NHRA season.
For Kalitta racing is not about rivalries but more the pure enjoyment of wheeling an 11,000 horsepower race car down the track. His team, led by veteran crew chief Rob Flynn, spent a full day in Indianapolis making solid runs looking to fine tune the Mac Tools dragster for a stretch run of races to get the first half of the season started.
“We made some really good runs on Monday in Indianapolis and we didn’t hurt anything which was huge,” said Kalitta. “Rob runs this Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster hard but smart. We have a lot of horsepower and we just need to apply it to the race track. I feel like we can run with anybody and it is going to start getting warmer. These next couple of races will be a lot of fun starting with the Southern Nationals.”
Atlanta Dragway will host one full day of qualifying on Saturday, May 1, followed by final eliminations on Sunday, May 2. Fans can tune in to FS1 for the broadcast on Sunday afternoon.
2019 NHRA Southern Nationals Highlights (event not contested in 2020): Qual. No. 3; Lost to Shawn Reed
Last Event Recap (2021 NHRA Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals): RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 3; Beat Troy Buff and Rob Passey, Beat Shawn Langdon and Leah Pruett; Lost to Steve Torrence
Career Stats: 526 events, 519 starts, 715 round wins, 49 wins, 106 finals, 50 No. 1 qualifiers
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 4; Beat Arthur Allen; Lost to Justin Ashley
Las Vegas1: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 3; Beat Troy Buff and Rob Passey, Beat Shawn Langdon and Leah Pruett; Lost to Steve Torrence
Kalitta Motorsports PR