Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools were seeking their fourth NHRA Southern Nationals Top Fuel victory this weekend at Atlanta Dragway. Two weeks ago the team raced to a runner-up finish at the Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals and following a successful day of testing earlier in the week the team had a strong feeling about their chances for success in the Peach State. With only one day of qualifying that consisted of two rounds the Mac Tools team battled a tricky track and established themselves as the No. 9 qualifier going into race day. A number of teams had issues getting the maximum benefit from their 11,000 horsepower race cars throughout the day.
On Sunday morning Kalitta and the Mac Tools dragster were half of the first pair of Top Fuel dragsters hoping to take advantage of the coolest track temperatures for optimal results. The strategy worked to their advantage as Kalitta’s team stepped up dramatically on the performance side running a solid 3.800 second elapsed time run at 322.19 mph. Unfortunately, Kalitta was second to the finish line stripe by 11 thousandths of a second. His run was the second quickest pass of the weekend but came up six feet short to advance to the second round.
“That was a close race and a tough loss,” said Kalitta. “We only got two runs yesterday so that put us a little behind like it did a lot of teams. We got it turned around for the first round but we just came up a little short. I have a lot of good memories at Atlanta Dragway and I was looking forward to making some more today. We’ll start getting ready for Charlotte.”
Kalitta will head to the Carolina Four-Wide Nationals in seventh place in the Top Fuel Camping World point standings. The perennial championship contender is less than a round out of fourth place.
Doug Kalitta on Southern Nationals: “This race has a lot of history and we won the closest race ever here a few years ago. The fans have been great all weekend.”
Qualified: No. 9 (4.389 sec., 195.08 mph)
Bonus points: 0
Driver Qual R/T ET MPH
Doug Kalitta 9 .069 3.800 322.19
Antron Brown 8 .065 3.793 317.19 (W)
Kalitta Motorsports PR