Doug Kalitta hopes to add another historic memory to Atlanta Dragway Finals
Of the 106 final appearances Doug Kalitta has racked up over his exceptional career, he hasn’t seen a closer final round than what happened at Atlanta Dragway five years ago.
In fact, no one has done it in Top Fuel, and probably no one ever will.
Kalitta and his then-Top Fuel teammate JR Todd put on a show for the ages in the 2016 Atlanta Finals, culminating in the closest race in the history of the class.
Kalitta won by a barely readable margin – less than .0001 of a second, or four tenths of an inch. It was as close as it gets, and Kalitta couldn’t tell he squeaked past Todd at the finish line, but it’s a win that still draws the veteran’s wonder and excitement, especially more than the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series races for the last time on the track on May 1-2.
“It got a lot of attention since the race was so close. I was just happy we got the win for Mac Tools with my guys,” said Kalitta, who has 49 career wins. “Atlanta Dragway just has a ton of history, and I’ve won it many times. The fans have always been great and very supportive to me.”
The near-draw final round wasn’t the only big moment Kalitta had on the track, but it was certainly the most historic. He has three wins in Atlanta, one far from equaling Antron Brown and Larry Dixon for most of class history at the facility, and a win this year would be the 50th of his career.
Of course, with next weekend being the last race on the track, Kalitta can have the perfect start, winning this fourth Atlanta and also claiming his 50th career victory in Top Fuel, a huge historic figure in his illustrious career.
The added measure of that is Top Fuel’s final set to wrap up the final eliminations on Sunday, as is usually the case, meaning Kalitta would also be in the last pair to take down Georgia’s House of Speed.
“It would be something really cool for me for sure,” said Kalitta, who also won in 2005 and 2006. “My Mac Tools dragster performed really well, so we’ll try to make sure we’re the last dragster. on the track at the Southern Nationals. “
Kalitta looks close to winning this year in his 11,000 horsepower Mac Tools dragster. After a second-round loss at Gainesville to open 2021, he qualified for the final quad in last weekend’s wide four race in Las Vegas, finishing second ahead of Steve Torrence.
He qualified well in both races and generally ran well, which means the only thing left this year is to claim victory.
Doing so in Atlanta has a lot of dramatic stories, but at the end of the day, the standout veteran is focused on continuously improving early in the season for a team that continues to perform at a high level.
“My guys are rock solid and very keen to win like me,” said Kalitta, who is currently fourth in points in two races. “It was fun working with these guys and doing rounds in the first two races of the season.”