KENT, Wash., (Aug. 3, 2014) - NHRA Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta, driver of the 10,000-horsepower “Big Red” Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, raced to his second victory of the 2014 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Sunday during eliminations of the 27th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash., just a few miles from downtown Seattle.
Kalitta’s trip to the Seattle Winner’s circle marks the 35th NHRA Top Fuel event win for the 17-year nitro veteran and ties him for fifth with drag racing legend Don Garlits on the all-time NHRA Top Fuel wins list.
“That’s something that’s very special to me,” Kalitta, a 49-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., said. “I grew up idolizing Connie (Kalitta, team owner, drag racing icon and Doug’s uncle) and Garlits, so to be mentioned in the same breath with both of them is truly an honor.”
Kalitta, whose first win of the 2014 season came in Gainesville, Fla. in March, defeated Mike Salinas, Troy Buff, and reigning NHRA Top Fuel World Champion Shawn Langdon en route to an epic final round match-up between No. 1 and No. 2 in Mello Yello Top Fuel championship points, Kalitta and Antron Brown.
“We knew the final was going to be a hard fight, but I’m always extremely confident in my Mac Tools team and they gave me a great race car yet again. Winning against anybody is tough these days because the competition level in Top Fuel is so high, but getting past Antron is even tougher.”
Leaving Washington, Kalitta, who has now raced in nine Top Fuel championship rounds this season and 77 in his career, retains the Mello Yello Top Fuel championship points lead, which is now 76 over Brown with only two events remaining in the “regular season” of the 2014 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Kalitta and the Mac Tools Top Fuel team clinched a berth in the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series “Playoffs”, the Countdown to the Championship in Denver. The Countdown to the Championship consists of the final six events of the season and begins in Charlotte, Sept. 12-14. Only the top ten in Mello Yello championship points at the conclusion of the event in Indianapolis, Aug. 27 - Sept. 1, are eligible to compete in the Countdown to the Championship and to have a chance to be crowned a 2014 Mello Yello World Champion.
The win for Kalitta in Seattle is his first at the Pacific Raceways (formerly Seattle International Raceway) drag strip.
Kalitta’s teammate Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Patrón XO Café Toyota Camry Funny Car, raced to a semi-final finish in Seattle, her second consecutive such placement in as many events (Sonoma).
Team Kalitta nitro race cars now have five event wins and have appeared in 16 championship rounds so far in the 24-event 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule of events this year.
Mello Yello Championship Points:
- Doug Kalitta (1345)
- Antron Brown (1269)
- Shawn Langdon (1146)
- Tony Schumacher (999)
- Steve Torrence (920)
- Spencer Massey (895)
- Brittany Force (856)
- Khalid alBalooshi (855)
- Richie Crampton (808)
- J.R. Todd (774)
- Bob Vandergriff Jr. (646)
- Robert Hight (1271)
- John Force (1224)
- Ron Capps (989)
- Courtney Force (980)
- Tommy Johnson Jr. (975)
- Alexis DeJoria (961)
- Matt Hagan (949)
- Cruz Pedregon (894)
- Del Worsham (848)
- Tim Wilkerson (815)
- Jack Beckman (785)