From the beginning of the season when Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools team started off with a win at the Winternationals the team knew it would come down to the last few races to determine the championship. Kalitta and his team have led the points the majority of the season and entering the NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park they are right in the championship mix. They sit just 51 points out of first place with a win and a semifinal finish over the past two races. This differential can easily be made up with a strong performance weekend in Houston.
“We have two races left and we know what we need to do,” said Kalitta. “The good news is we basically control our own destiny. If we run well in qualifying and win these last two races we should be the champions. It will be tough but I have a great team behind me and I have a lot of confidence.”
Kalitta should be confident racing at Houston Raceway Park because he is one of the most successful Top Fuel drivers to every leave the starting line. His three Top Fuel titles put him in elite company with Kenny Bernstein and Larry Dixon at Houston Raceway Park. Only Bernstein equals Kalitta with three titles at the Spring Nationals. One of Dixon’s Houston Raceway Park wins was scored at the now discontinued Fall Houston races. A quirk in the NHRA reconfigured schedule has the Spring Nationals running in late October.
“We won a lot of races in the first part of the year at the Spring Nationals so we will see if we can win one in October,” said Kalitta. “I am glad we are getting to race in Houston because we have a lot of representatives from Mobil 1 who will be at the race and our new sponsor Osborn has some strong Texas ties. I was actually supposed to unveil an Osborn Top Fuel dragster at this race earlier this season. They are featured on my Mac Tools dragster pretty big this weekend.”
Kalitta’s wins at the Spring Nationals were tallied in 2016, 2015 and 2003. In addition he recorded two No. 1 qualifiers in 2013 and 2002. Strong performance numbers would be a huge advantage this weekend as Kalitta chases down his first Top Fuel world championship. This season has seen him race to four finals and pick up three wins most recently at the NHRA Midwest Nationals in St. Louis. The veteran driver has only qualified in the bottom half of the field one time in the previous nine races.
“With only one day of qualifying you really have to make your two passes count. It makes it tough for the crew chiefs for sure but Rob Flynn and my Mac Tools guys have been amazing all season. We want to get some of those qualifying bonus points and then get a lot of round wins on Sunday. That will be the key to our success for sure,” added Kalitta.
Last Event Recap (2020 NHRA FallNationals): Qual. No. 7; Beat Antron Brown, Justin Ashley; Lost to Billy Torrence
2019 NHRA Spring Nationals Recap: Qual. No. 8; Beat Terry McMillen; Lost to Brittany Force
Quotable: Doug Kalitta on Top Fuel championship battle: “We have been here before so I don’t feel any extra pressure. We just need to focus on what we can control. If we do that then no matter what happens we will know we gave it our best. These next two races will be a lot so fun and I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Career Stats: 522 events, 515 starts, 710 round wins, 49 wins, 105 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
Indy1 NHRA Nationals: Qual. No. 2; RUNNER-UP; Beat Lex Joon, Leah Pruett and Antron Brown; Lost to Billy Torrence
Indy2 NHRA Nationals: Qual. No. 6; Beat Doug Foley; Lost to Justin Ashley
Indy3 NHRA Nationals: Qual. No. 12; Beat Cory McClenathan, Clay Millican; Lost to Terry McMillen
U.S. Nationals: Qual. No. 5; Beat Pat Dakin; Lost to Justin Ashley
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 6; Lost to Terry McMillen
Midwest Nationals: Qual. No. 5; WINNER: Beat Shawn Langdon, TJ Zizzo, Tony Schumacher, Steve Torrence
FallNationals: Qual. No. 7; Beat Antron Brown, Justin Ashley; Lost to Billy Torrence