NHRA- Jeff Arend
May 7, 2012The Thunder Road Show
Arend and Kalitta Race to Semifinals in Atlanta; Teammates Grubnic and DeJoria Post Early Finishes
COMMERCE, Ga. (May 6, 2012) – In NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series qualifying action at the annual running of the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga., a few miles northeast of downtown Atlanta, Kalitta Motorsports’ Jeff Arend and Doug Kalitta each raced to the semifinals of their respective nitro-fueled classes capping off an excellent weekend for the team in the Peach State.
Native Canadian Arend, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, qualified in the No. 11 (4.183 sec., 301.40 mph) position for the 16-car Funny Car field. In the opening round, he raced against No. 6 qualifier Tony Pedregon. Arend and the DHL “Yella Fellas” made a nice, clean lap to get the upset win 4.197 seconds, 302.21 mph to 4.474 sec., 209.36 mph.
Arend and the DHL team then took on Johnny Gray in round two. For the second consecutive weekend, Arend then drove his yellow and black DHL Funny Car to the semifinals by delivering a quarterfinals win, 4.188 sec., 301.33 mph to 6.209 sec., 108.25 mph.
In the Funny Car semis, Arend raced a red-hot Ron Capps, the No. 2 qualifier and runner-up finisher at the previous event in Houston. Not long after the race began, the DHL hot rod struggled with traction on the hot straight-line racing circuit ending Arend’s chances to race for a fourth career “Wally” trophy. Capps got the win, 6.201 sec., 113.28 mph to 4.164 sec., 304.05 mph.
Arend moves up to ninth place in Full Throttle Funny Car championship points.
Doug Kalitta, driver of the Kalitta Air Top Fueler, qualified his dragster in the No. 12 (3.891 sec., 300.06 mph) slot. Kalitta faced No. 5 qualifier and Full Throttle Top Fuel championship points leader Antron Brown in round one. Kalitta and the Kalitta Air “Fly Guys” pulled off the big upset win, 3.895 sec., 318.02 mph to 4.019 sec., 281.07 mph, to get their seventh all-time round win against Brown.
In the quarterfinals, Kalitta matched up with Spencer Massey. Massey acquired the points lead from Brown after Brown’s loss to Kalitta in the opener. So, for the second time on Sunday, Kalitta defeated the Top Fuel points leader when he got another upset big win over No. 4 qualifier Massey to reach his third semi-final round of the 2012 season, 3.911 sec., 315.05 mph to 4.887 sec., 153.82 mph.
Kalitta then rolled to the starting line to face his longtime rival Tony Schumacher in the semis, who by way of Massey’s loss to Kalitta became the Top Fuel points leader making it the third consecutive round that Kalitta would face the leader in Full Throttle Top Fuel points. Kalitta’s Kalitta Air dragster lost valuable traction immediately after the start of the race this time however, and that allowed Schumacher to get the win, 6.557 sec., 139.16 mph to 3.894 sec., 307.72 mph.
Kalitta moves up in the points as well, now tied for sixth place in Full Throttle Top Fuel championship points.
Native Australian David Grubnic, driver of the Optima Batteries Top Fuel dragster, qualified his hot rod in the No. 7 (3.872 seconds, 318.09 mph) spot. Grubnic took on No. 10 qualifier Bob Vandergriff in round one of eliminations. After the light went green and the race started, Grubnic charged the Optima Batteries rail into the lead and led almost the entire race down the 1,000-ft. drag strip until a cylinder unexpectedly “dropped” in the volatile nitro-fueled engine and that let Vandergriff pass “Grubby” right before the finish line stripe to get the upset win, 4.043 sec., 245.40 mph to 3.919 sec., 317.72 mph.
Grubnic is now in 11th place in Full Throttle Top Fuel points.
Rookie of the Year contender Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patron Toyota Camry Funny Car, qualified her Kalitta Motorsports racer in the No. 10 (4.166 sec., 302.28 mph) spot for eliminations and raced No. 7 qualifier Matt Hagan in the opener. The two drivers and their machines gave the huge Atlanta Dragway crowd a great side-by-side race, but Hagan was able to get the very close win to end DeJoria’s day early, 4.274 sec., 261.47 mph to 4.225 sec., 284.27 mph.
Dejoria is now 15th in Full Throttle Funny Car points.