NORWALK, Ohio, (July 8, 2012) – David Grubnic led the way for the four-car nitro-fueled drag racing contingent of Kalitta Motorsports by racing to the semifinals during Sunday’s eliminations of the annual running of the NHRA Norwalk Nationals at Norwalk Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.
Native Australian Grubnic, driver of the Optima Batteries Top Fueler, qualified in the No. 14 position (4.022 seconds, 294.95 mph) for eliminations. The Optima Batteries team led by team owner and drag racing legend Connie “the Bounty Hunter” Kalitta upset No. 3 qualifier Khalid alBalooshi in the first round with their best run of the weekend, 3.862 sec., 317.05 to 4.080 sec., 255.29 mph.
In the quarterfinals, Grubnic matched up with T.J. Zizzo. As the track conditions got trickier as the temperatures rose in Norwalk, Grubnic used a 3.989-sec., 300-mph pass to vanquish Zizzo and his 4.575-sec., 176.47-mph effort to set up a semi-final showdown with Spencer Massey.
In the semis, Grubnic’s Optima Batteries dragster surprisingly lost traction almost as soon as Grubnic put his foot down on the throttle pedal. Massey was able to drive away for the win, 9.944 sec., 62.70 mph to 3.951 sec., 300.06 mph.
Grubnic has one win so far in 2012 (Topeka, Kan.) and with his performance today moves up to eighth place in Full Throttle Top Fuel championship points.
Native Canadian Arend, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, posted a best qualifying pass of 4.198 sec., 302.08 mph which landed him in the No. 10 spot for Funny Car eliminations. Arend and the DHL “Yella Fellas” led by co-crew chiefs Nick Boninfante and Jon Oberhofer took down No. 7 qualifier Daniel Wilkerson in round one by posting their quickest mark of the weekend, 4.154 sec., 300.60 mph to 4.278 sec., 272.28 mph.
Arend raced against Mike Neff in the quarterfinals. Just about halfway down the 1,000-ft. racing surface, the DHL machine unexpectedly lost valuable traction and that allowed Neff to take the win light, 5.452 sec., 145.16 mph to 4.229 sec., 286.50 mph.
Arend and the DHL Toyota Camry team are now tied for eighth place in Full Throttle Funny Car championship points.
Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster driver Doug Kalitta qualified in the No. 8 position for Top Fuel eliminations with a 3.925-second, 296.31-mph effort. Kalitta and the Kalitta Air team were upset by No. 9 qualifier Keith Murt in round one, 3.888 sec., 315.05 mph to 3.875 sec., 316.90 mph.
The early loss in Norwalk marks only the third time in the first 12 races of the 2012 season that Kalitta has suffered an opening round loss. Kalitta and the Kalitta Air “Fly Guys” leave Norwalk in sixth place in Full Throttle Top Fuel points.
Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patron Toyota Camry Funny Car, did not qualify for Norwalk eliminations. She is now 12th in Full Throttle Funny Car points.
Team Kalitta as a whole continues to impress the auto racing world so far in 2012 with two wins, two runner-up finishes, and five semi-final finishes in the previous five events including Norwalk.
ESPN2 TV Schedule
7/8 – Eliminations
8:00 PM-11:00 PM (ET)
7/10 – Eliminations Re-Air
2:00 AM-3:30 AM (ET)
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 Toyota Camry Funny Car for Team Kalitta. Alexis DeJoria pilots the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car. David Grubnic drives the Optima Batteries Top Fuel dragster while Connie’s nephew, Doug Kalitta, pilots the Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster. Connie serves as head tuner for all Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Nick Boninfante on the DHL Funny Car, by Del Worsham on the Tequila Patrón Funny Car, and by Jim Oberhofer on the Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster. Connie serves as crew chief on the Optima Batteries Top Fuel dragster.
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. Follow us on Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/teamkalitta.