Auto Club NHRA Finals: Doug Kalitta hopes this is (finally) his year to win an NHRA Top Fuel championship

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November 13, 2019 10:21 AM

Auto Club NHRA Finals: Doug Kalitta hopes this is (finally) his year to win an NHRA Top Fuel championship

The Kalitta Motorsports NHRA veteran hopes to bring home the big prize in his 22nd season.

Mike Pryson

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NHRA/National Dragster

Doug Kalitta is going after the biggest prize of his career this weekend at Pomona, California.

In 10 different seasons during Doug Kalitta’s NHRA career, he’s led the points standings at least one week.
One of the sport’s top drivers of all time, however, has just never been fortunate enough to lead the right week—the one following the final race of the season.
Kalitta, 55, has yet another chance at that elusive first championship this weekend at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, California. Kalitta sits third in his latest bid in his Mac Tools Dragster, trailing Top Fuel dragster leader and defending champion Steve Torrence by 55 points—just two rounds worth of points at the points-and-a-half final. Brittany Force, the 2017 champion in the class, is 16 points back in her quest for a second title.
To win the championship, Kalitta knows that he might have to run the table and win the event, just like he won the season-opening event at Pomona back on Feb. 11.
“This is pretty exciting for me, just to have another opportunity to finish the Countdown and see how it ends up,” said Kalitta, a 46-time event winner. “We worked hard to have a good position to open the playoffs and we’ve stayed in the top three throughout with a chance to win it at Pomona. 

Motorsport Images-LAT

Doug Kalitta is a 46-time winner in the NHRA Mello Yello Series.

“My guys are really working their tails off on my Mac Tools Toyota right now and it’s running well. It’s what it’s all about for my team and everybody out here. So we’re going to give it our best. We can’t control what everyone else does, so we’re just going to go out and try to win the race.”
Kalitta, who is in his 22nd season in the standings, is a four-time runner-up in the championship. He finsihed second most recently in 2016. 
His best shot at the championship may have been in 2006 when he led by 45 points heading to the final race weekend only to get knocked out in the semifinals by Melanie Troxel and watch Tony Schumacher go on to win the championship.
Kalitta’s last national championship in any discipline came in 1994 when when won the USAC National Sprint Car title. He’s already had one career milestone this season, as he broke through to win the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis in September.

“It’s something I’ve worked at for 21 years now,” Kalitta said of his Top Fuel title bid. “It would be a huge deal for me. We have everything we need to win this championship, and that is because of Connie Kalitta. 
“To win the Top Fuel championship would be really special to everyone on this team and at Kalitta Motorsports. Just all the support we’ve received over the years from so many people. It would be a great way to repay them. We have come close to the championship a number of times. This year has been great, getting our first win at the U.S. Nationals. It would be huge to get that championship to go with it.”
Qualifying begins on Friday, Nov. 15. The elimination finals will be televised live on FS1 beginning at 4 p.m. on Nov. 17.

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Source:https://autoweek.com/article/nhra/auto-club-nhra-finals-doug-kalitta-hopes-finally-his-year-win-nhra-top-fuel

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