One run definitely doesn’t make a season, but when one run is a career best and a track record, it could be a harbinger of things to come – that’s exactly what Doug Kalitta and his Mac Tools team hope it was. The 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Season resumes March 24-26, 2023 at the NHRA Arizona Nationals set for Chandler, Ariz., just outside Phoenix.
It was the first round of eliminations Sunday morning, March 12, and Kalitta was paired with Spencer Massey. The Mac Tools car blistered the Gainesville Raceway track with a 3.646-second pass at 333.82 mph. The career best time also set the track record getting the day that would end in the semifinals off to a brilliant start.
“We are super excited about our performance at the first race,” Kalitta said. “It really showed how hard all my guys have been working to get things ready for this season, and it makes us eager to see how good our team can be. We are very optimistic and really excited to get to Phoenix to see what we can do there! My entire team is really hungry to run well and go rounds so it should be a very interesting year.”
That said, it was nice to make great runs and reach the semifinals, but winning races is the key to success and the most-efficient way to get the team in position for a title run. The timing of a return to a track on which Kalitta has one win in five final rounds could be perfect.
“Everyone’s job is very vital to winning these races, and Connie (team owner Connie Kalitta) definitely gives us everything we need to win races,” the 49-time race winner added. “I have an incredible team again this year so we just need to continue doing what we all do best, and hopefully the Mac Tools car will do the talking. Phoenix is a fast facility, and the fans are always great and excited to see some great racing; it would be awesome to leave there with the win! Phoenix is a great racing town, and I have some great memories from racing sprint cars and drag racing there over the years. We’ve all heard this week’s race could be the last Wild Horse, but I’m hopeful they will keep the track alive.”
When Kalitta advanced to the Gainesville semifinals, he earned a spot in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge, a new program that debuts this weekend. During Saturday’s qualifying sessions, the drivers who reached the semifinals in Gainesville will re-run the semifinals and final earning additional purse and bonus points. Kalitta will race Steve Torrence in Saturday’s first qualifying round, and if he wins, he would race Mike Salinas or Leah Pruett in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty finals during the final qualifying attempt with a chance to win a $10,000 bonus.
“This new program brings a new level of excitement to our sport,” Kalitta said. “We appreciate what Mission Foods is doing and look forward to being among the first to participate in the #2Fast2Tasty Challenge. Our Mac Tools team is definitely hoping to beat Stevie and his boys on Saturday!”