The second race of the season will see Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools team in a familiar and also new position heading to the NHRA Arizona Nationals. For the third year in a row Kalitta will head to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park as the points leader and the most recent event winner. The two go hand in hand naturally but the twist this year is no Top Fuel driver had ever won three Winternationals in a row before Kalitta secured his win two weeks ago.
“You love to start the season with a win and getting three Winternationals wins in a row is definitely special,” said Kalitta. “I love racing in Pomona and we have had a lot of success on that track. We are going to look to take this success with us to Phoenix and try and keep this winning streak going.”
In Pomona Kalitta qualified No. 5 and then took out a tough quartet of rising stars in the Top Fuel ranks. His reaction times were dead-on all day on Sunday including a .038 in the final round against 2019 Auto Club Road to the Future winner Austin Prock. In the semifinals against Brittany Force Kalitta got the jump off the line and laid down a blistering 3.675 second pass to get the win. It was the second quickest pass of the day and brought the Pomona crowd to their feet.
“That semifinal run was huge,” explained Kalitta. “We knew we needed to really put up a good number and I think we got just about everything that was out there. I am just super proud of Rob Flynn and all my Mac Tools guys. That Sunday showed that a lot of the behind the scenes work with TRD, NGK spark plugs and Mobil 1 really paid off and will continue to pay off.”
Kalitta has had a strong history of round wins at the Arizona Nationals but has only secured one Top Fuel victory. In 2001 Kalitta outran Darrell Russell for his lone win in the desert. He has runner-up finishes in 2015, 2010 and 2004 to go along with No. 1 qualifiers in 2016, 2014, 2013 and 2003.
“We have definitely gone rounds in Phoenix and been to quite a few finals. It is always close racing and they have done a lot of improvements over the years. I think we will have a strong weekend with this Mac Tools team. I know I am fired up to get another win. We were in Denver for the Mac Tools Tool Fair between the races and being around all those great people really gets you pumped up,” added Kalitta.
2019 NHRA Arizona Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 5; Beat Jim Maroney; Lost to Jordan Vandergriff
Last Event Recap (2020 NHRA Winternationals): Qual. No. 5; WINNER; Beat Brandon Welch, Justin Ashley, Brittany Force and Austin Prock
Quotable: Kalitta on winning three races in a row at Auto Club Raceway: “We swept both races in Pomona last year and then picked up the Winternationals win again this year. We definitely enjoy racing there and I would love to win the Auto Club Finals again this year and hopefully get that Top Fuel championship this time.”
Career Stats: 514 events, 507 starts, 694 round wins, 48 wins, 101 finals, 50 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual. No. 5; WINNER; Beat Brandon Welch, Justin Ashley, Brittany Force and Austin Prock