The NHRA Winternationals, historically the first race of the season, has been Doug Kalitta’s go-to race to grab early season momentum throughout his career. The perennial championship contender has appeared in nine final rounds since 2004 and has four wins including a current three race win streak in the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster. With the switch to July for this year’s edition Kalitta is hoping to use his dominance at Auto Club Raceway to rev up his championship hopes heading to the end of the regular season.
“That place has a ton of history for a guy like me,” said Kalitta. “I have had good luck there. You go to a place like Pomona, where you are real confident and it has been really good to you. Getting back there is another great opportunity to win again. It is going to be a lot of fun for sure and end the Western Swing there.”
After two races in row where the Mac Tools team did not reach their full potential on race day Kalitta feels like the Winternationals could be the race his team turns a corner. Last weekend they made a strong run in the first round and lost a close quarterfinal race. The improvements to the tune-up led to minimal engine issues and the feeling that the team can once again get aggressive without risking carnage.
“We had a good run first round,” said Kalitta, following the Sonoma Nationals. “We are finally to a point now where we can actually race this Mac Tools dragster. There were a few races we were out there in survival mode and I think we have that behind us now. We can start turning the screws up on this race car and see what we can do.”
The Mac Tools Top Fuel team has secured two runner-up finishes and in a tight Top Fuel leader board Kalitta sits in the No. 8 position in point just 40 points out of fourth place which is two rounds of racing. The battle for the championship and positioning for the Countdown, the NHRA playoffs, will be fierce over the final four races of the regular season.
“We are looking forward to these next few races leading up to Indy,” said Kalitta. “This weekend our focus is 100 percent on doing well at the Winternationals and finishing the Western Swing on a high note.”
2020 NHRA Winternationals Highlights: Qual. No. 5; WINNER; Beat Brandon Welch, Justin Ashley, Brittany Force and Austin Prock
Last Event Recap (2021 NHRA Sonoma Nationals): Qual. No. 8; Beat Mike Salinas; Lost to Steve Torrence
Career Stats: 533 events, 526 starts, 721 round wins, 49 wins, 107 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
Atlanta: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Antron Brown
Charlotte1: Qual. No. 12; Beat Josh Hart, Billy Torrence, Kyle Wurtzel; Lost to Brittany Force, Josh Hart
Houston: RUNNER-UP; Qual. No. 9; Beat Brittany Force, Antron Brown, Shawn Langdon; Lost to Steve Torrence
Epping: Qual. No. 5; Beat Shawn Langdon, Lost to Mike Salinas
Norwalk: Qual. No. 11; Lost to Antron Brown
Denver: Qual. No. 4; Lost to Leah Pruett
Sonoma: Qual. No. 8; Beat Mike Salinas; Lost to Steve Torrence
Kalitta Motorsports PR