After two races Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools Top Fuel team were riding a wave off dominant performances with two final round appearances including a third consecutive win at the historic Winternationals. The consistent world championship favorite had the Mello Yello points lead and momentum heading to the Gatornationals in March. When the season went on hiatus Kalitta and his team went to work getting ready for the season relaunch.
“Man, we were rolling to start the season,” said Kalitta. “I think we can pick up right where we left off this weekend. (Crew chief) Rob (Flynn) and the Mac Tools boys have stayed sharp and we have some good data for Indy. I am excited to get back there after our success last year.”
Last Labor Day weekend Kalitta broke through for his first U.S. Nationals win and used that win to propel his team to a runner-up finish in the Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings. This year Kalitta will get back into the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster on Saturday looking to keep his Indianapolis win streak alive.
“The U.S. Nationals win was big for this whole Mac Tools team,” said Kalitta. “It was great to park the Mac Tools dragster in the winner’s circle and to also celebrate with some many of our great sponsors. This year we got off to a great start with new sponsors NGK Spark Plugs, Mobil 1 and RevChem, which I think will continue to pay dividends for us.”
This season Kalitta’s wins came at the expense of some of the biggest names in the class. On his way to the Winternationals win he defeated No. 1 qualifier Brittany Force in the semifinals and last year’s rookie of the year Austin Prock in the final. His reaction times were strong all day and his Mac Tools dragster was performing at peak levels. Two weeks later in Phoenix Kalitta took out Force again as well as three-time Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown before losing a close race to two-time world champion Steve Torrence.
“The competition in this class is fierce. You have to be on your ‘A Game’ in the first round or you could have a very short day. I did my job at the Winternationals and Arizona Nationals and I had a great race car. I am feeling good about this weekend,” added Kalitta.
Last Event Recap (2020 NHRA Arizona Nationals): Qual. No. 8; RUNNER-UP; Beat Shawn Reed, Brittany Force and Antron Brown; Lost to Steve Torrence
Quotable: Kalitta on getting season re-started: “It has been a long time since I have been in the Mac Tools dragster. I don’t know if I have ever gone this long without making a run. I am not worried about shaking off any rust. Once I get strapped in I will be 100 percent focused.”
Career Stats: 515 events, 508 starts, 697 round wins, 48 wins, 103 finals, 50 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual. No. 5; WINNER; Beat Brandon Welch, Justin Ashley, Brittany Force and Austin Prock
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 8; RUNNER-UP; Beat Shawn Reed, Brittany Force and Antron Brown; Lost to Steve Torrence