Tuesday, February 19, 2013
NHRA NEWS: Grubnic charged up for the Phoenix heat
Native Australian David Grubnic, driver of the Optima Batteries Top Fuel dragster for Kalitta Motorsports, is optimistic about continuing his team’s performance momentum this weekend at the annual running of the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Ariz., just a few miles from the Phoenix city limits.
“Grubby”, known affectionately by his peers and fans, started the season last weekend in Pomona, Calif., with a bonus point-winning 3.776-second run in qualifying at the NHRA Winternationals, and backed that up by winning the first round of eliminations with an elapsed time of 3.741, which was the best of the round.
The 2008 Phoenix runner-up looks to make the next step into the winner’s circle this weekend. Grubnic’s first round victory in Pomona put him in the seventh position in the standings, less than ten points outside of the top five of the Mello Yello championship point ranks.
"We're obviously looking forward to carrying our Pomona performance into Phoenix,” Grubnic, a 50-year old resident of Bozeman, Mont., said. “Qualifying well and going rounds is the standard objectives for the Optima Batteries team and our goal is to continue this trend in Phoenix. Connie (Kalitta, legendary team owner and crew chief) is doing a great job with the tune-up and the crew is equally doing great preparing the race car. We're all excited to get on the track."
Grubnic is an 18-year Top Fuel veteran and earned his first career Top Fuel victory in Topeka in 2005, becoming the first racer born outside North America to win an NHRA Top Fuel event. Grubnic, known affectionately by his peers and fans as “Grubby,” is coming off another great NHRA season in 2012. He picked up his third career victory at Topeka early in the season and combined the win with semi-final finishes at Norwalk, Seattle and St. Louis to give him another Countdown to the Championship placement and another season in the top ten in the final standings.
Team owner and crew chief Connie Kalitta, a drag racing icon and pioneer, will celebrate his 75th birthday this Sunday in Phoenix.