1st of 24 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Events
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2008 Winners: TF Tony Schumacher ~ FC Robert Hight ~ PS Greg Anderson
The 2009 season for the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series blasts off with the 49th Annual Kragen OReilly NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, California Every February since 1961, fans have flocked to Southern California not just for the un-winterlike weather, but also for one of drag racings grandest traditions: the unveiling of new cars, drivers, teams, and sponsorships at the season opener. The Big Go West plays out at the fabled facility known for its outstanding traction, smooth surface, and potential for record performances. Teams hope to use the opener as a springboard in their pursuit of a spot in the Countdown to 10 championship program.
Doug Kalitta, Ron Capps and Jason Line Earn Wins at Kragen O'Reilly Winternationals02.10.09 Pomona, Calif. --
Doug Kalitta raced to his first Top Fuel victory in more than a year Tuesday at the significantly rain-delayed Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Ron Capps and Jason Line also were winners in their respective categories at the first of 24 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events in 2009. The season-opening event, which had been plagued by five straight days of rain delays, was finally completed under clear blue skies.
Kalitta powered his Kalitta Motorsports dragster to a winning performance of 3.822 seconds at 308.57 mph to take an emotional win over top qualifier Antron Brown, whose Matco Tools dragster trailed with a 3.847 at 307.16.
Kalitta said he was thrilled to win at the same track where his uncle Connie Kalitta, the legendary drag racer who is celebrating his 50th anniversary in the sport this year, and his late cousin Scott, who was killed last year in a crash at Englishtown, N.J., had both previously won (Scott in 2005, Connie in 1967).
"The Kalitta name has a long history at this track as both Connie and Scott have won here, so I am glad to be able to join them on the list," said Kalitta of his 31st career victory. "We're back. It was kind of a dry spell for us last year. The new team I have this year is really great and they are hungry to win, so I am glad we were able to get it done today."
Doug said the roll cage on his dragster today was the same one used by Scott in his win at this event in 2005. He said Scott was in his thoughts throughout the day.
"I think of Scott when I am up on the line all of the time and still use some of the techniques he taught me to get motivated before a race, so he's always riding with me," Kalitta said. "I am sure he was watching over us and he's really proud that all three Kalittas have now won here at Pomona."
Capps also ended a year-long winless drought in Funny Car, posting a performance of 4.154 at 296.96 in his NAPA Dodge Charger to hold off surprise finalist Jim Head, whose Head Racing Toyota Solara lost traction at the start of the race. It was Capps' 26th career victory and second at this event (also 1998).
"It's cool to be the first Full Throttle winner," Capps said. "And it's great for NAPA. We really wanted to get them a win this year because they really like our program and love what NHRA does for them because the customers can get so close. They were blown away when they came aboard last year and are doing so much with us with the TV commercials and everything. This is a big win for us."
Line claimed his 16th victory in Pro Stock and first ever at this track by outrunning Mike Edwards in the final round. Line drove his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP to a 6.567 at a track record speed of 211.63 to hold off Edwards' Young Life/Penhall GXP, which trailed at 6.575 at 210.01.
"I drove pretty good out there which feels pretty good because I've been criticized for that in the past," said Line, who had a reaction time advantage on all four of his opponents. "I drove decent and had a pretty good hot rod - probably the second best one here - and I would have loved to have raced Greg (Anderson, teammate who set the national E.T. record at 6.528 seconds in the second round) in the final, but we had a good race and it feels good to win. I botched the shift in the final or I probably would have gotten the (national) speed record because I hit the chip in third gear and again in fifth gear because I was so excited to be getting down the track in the final."
Tuesday's Final Results, 49th annual Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals:
Top Fuel -- Doug Kalitta, 3.822 seconds, 308.57 mph def. Antron Brown, 3.847 seconds, 307.16 mph.
Funny Car -- Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.154, 296.96 def. Jim Head, Toyota Solara, no time.
Pro Stock -- Jason Line, Pontiac GXP, 6.567, 211.63 def. Mike Edwards, GXP, 6.575, 210.01.
- Credit DRC
Home: The FR 2009 NHRA Championship Drag Racing Thread
FlAttorney's FR Racing
posted on 03/14/2009 5:56:39 PM PDT
(See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
While the NHRA 2009 season got off to a very rough start (see next post), I could not have picked two better nitro drivers to win the season opener than Top Fuel Doug Kalitta and Funny Car Ron Capps. As show below, Doug earned a tough and well deserved win. Also, congrats to Pro Stock Jason Line(1). I would have liked to see his Summit Racing teammate Greg Anderson(2) win the Winternationals Wally, as he did last year, but Jason is a great guy and great driver. Greg The Man Anderson and Summit Racing is the only reason I have any interest in Pro Stock.
(1) 2006 NHRA Pro Stock World Champion
(2) 2003, 04, 05 NHRA Pro Stock World Champion
Due to the economy, Kalitta Motorsports experienced a significant loss of sponsors. Presently, Doug is not funded to run the full season. Hopefully, his win will help in locating additional sponsors. I hated that Conrad "Connie" Kalitta had to mothball his other two 2008 Top Fuel teams of Hillary Will and Dave Grubnic. Aussie Grubby is a great guy and NHRA needs a good female Top Fuel driver like Hillary for 2009. However of the three drivers, Doug is the best and Connie made the right decision.
Currently, there are no women racing in Top Fuel. Melanie Troxel is the other very good Top Fuel female driver. She raced in Top Fuel until the end of the 2007 season, then switched over to a Funny Car for the 2008 season. Unfortunately, Melanie is without sponsorship for the 2009 season, as is her Funny Car driving husband Tommy Johnson Jr., who drove for Kenny Bernstein Racing. I thought it was a mistake when Melanie moved to Funny Car because Ashley Force Hood gets all the female media exposure and there were more cars competing in the FC division than the Top Fuel division. Hopefully, Melanie will find adequate sponsorship and come back to Top Fuel. ~ fla
Good Video: 02.2-3.09: Doug Kalitta testing at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Nitro Racing Teams' Press Releases
A cold and "green" track makes for wild and unhappy nitro dragsters. In the first round of Top Fuel eliminations, held on Sunday before rain ended racing, Doug Kalitta experiences a major engine fire but still won the race. 1:17 of video: Doug's huge fireball, but he keeps his foot in it. Many pro cars experienced severe starting-line tire shake and wheel hop. - fla
Kalitta Motorsports: Doug Kalitta wins 2009 NHRA Top Fuel opener in Pomona
Don Schumacher Racing: Ron Capps wins Pomona!
MotorSports NHRA 2009 Winternationals:
Winternationals End On High Note | Final Eliminatons Report
Finals Round-by-Round Results | Final Top 16 Finish Order
Great photo of Connie and Doug. And great photos of my main man Ron Capps, and my No. 1 favorite active NHRA legend Ed McCulloch(Crew Chief), that we combined, edited, and digitized. It would be fantastic to see Ron win a Funny Car World Championship this year. With he and Ed's substantial talent, strong team sponsorship, and racing for/backed by the highly successful Don Schumacher Racing, there is no excuse for not winning it all this season. NAPA recently updated their NAPA-NHRA website and corrected/eliminated all the corrupted NHRA related links caused by NHRA's new website. It looks great. Click the above banner if you wish to check it out.
~ fla <> Original photos credit: Kalitta Motorsports, CP, DRO, NAPA
posted on 03/14/2009 5:59:41 PM PDT
(See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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