BAYTOWN, Texas (April 29, 2011) – Jeff Arend, driver of the 8,000-horsepower, nitro-fueled DHL Funny Car, is optimistic that he and the DHL team will get one more win light this weekend, April 29 – May 1, at the annual running of the NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas, just outside of Houston.
Last year at the NHRA Spring Nationals, Native Canadian Arend drove the yellow and red DHL “flopper” into the final round. He was defeated in a tire-smoking affair by rival Matt Hagan (4.71 seconds to 4.39 sec.). This time out, Arend is confident that he and the DHL team will take a giant leap to the winner’s circle in Houston.
“We were so close to the win last year in Houston,” Arend, a 48-year old resident of San Dimas, Calif., said. “All we needed was to get one more win light. I think we’ll contend for the win again this year. Our DHL Funny Car is getting better and better at each event we go to.
“It would be very emotional for me and the team to get a win in Houston where Scott (Kalitta) got his first and only win in a Funny Car.”
Arend took over the controls of the DHL Funny Car in late 2008 after the tragic death of Scott Kalitta in a racing accident in June of that year in New Jersey. Kalitta was a two-time NHRA Top Fuel World Champion. Kalitta got his one and only NHRA national event win in the Funny Car class in Houston in 1989.
Also this weekend in Houston, Arend and the DHL team will be hosting approximately 30 guests from the Houston area Big Brothers Big Sisters program in the DHL / Kalitta Motorsports pit-side hospitality. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country.
For more information, please go to www.bbbstx.org
The NHRA Spring Nationals begin Friday for the nitro-fueled classes with two qualifying sessions at 3:30 p.m. (CT) and 6:00 p.m. Two more qualifying attempts will take place on Saturday at 11:45 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. The top 16 qualified cars in each pro class will race Sunday in final eliminations beginning at 11:00 a.m.
Times and dates subject to change.
4/30/2011 Qualifying – 6:00 PM-8:00 PM (ET) ESPN2
5/1/2011 Eliminations – 7:00 PM-10:00 PM (ET) ESPN2
Times and dates subject to change.
About Kalitta Motorsports
Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Kalitta Motorsports is a Top Fuel and Funny Car drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. The team was founded and is owned by drag racing icon Connie “the Bounty Hunter” Kalitta. For more than 50 years, Connie has been involved in the sport as a driver, tuner, and an owner. Kalitta Motorsports is one of the most successful teams in the history of auto racing with five world championships and over 50 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.
Jeff Arend drives the DHL Funny Car for the team. Connie’s nephew, Doug Kalitta, drives the Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster entry while Dave Grubnic drives the team’s second Top Fueler under the banner of Kalitta Air as well. Connie serves as head tuner for all Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by crew chief Jim Oberhofer and assistant crew chief Troy Fasching on Doug’s Top Fueler and by co-crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Nick Boninfante on the DHL Funny Car. Connie serves as crew chief on the Grubnic-driven racer with help from assistant crew chief James Riola.
Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include Candlewood Suites, ROCKY Boots, Red Line Oil, Technicoat Companies, OPTIMA Batteries, JEGS, and Mac Tools.
For more info about Kalitta Motorsports including exclusive content such as videos, photos and more, please visit www.teamkalitta.com . Follow Us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TeamKalitta . Like Us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/KalittaMotorsports . Check out videos about Team Kalitta on our YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/TeamKalitta