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New Car Has Doug Kalitta Hungry for 4-Wide Effort to Step Up Title Defense

Doug Kalitta’s title defense is underway, but it hasn’t gone as well as hoped…yet. The 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Season resumes April 12-14, 2024, at the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals on the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Kalitta has two Las Vegas wins in seven final-round appearances, and while the Mac Tools team hasn’t won a race yet this season, recent changes have the team liking its chances this weekend.            

“We switched to a different car before Phoenix, and it was pretty happy actually,” Kalitta said. “Alan (crew chief Alan Johnson) and the guys like what they’re seeing with this new chassis so we’re all looking forward to seeing what we can do in Las Vegas. What I know for sure is how hard Mac (assistant crew chief Mac Savage) and all my guys are working to get this Mac Tools car running the way we all want it to run. We’re hungry and want to get a race win under our belts as soon as we can.”

Kalitta has three quarterfinal finishes in three races so far this season and enters the fourth race sixth in points. That’s a solid start for some, but the defending Top Fuel champion is ready to move deeper into elimination rounds going forward, and this weekend’s four-wide race in Las Vegas would be the perfect time to do it.

When Kalitta advanced to the quarterfinals in Phoenix last weekend, he earned a spot in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge at this week’s NHRA 4-Wide Nationals – it’s the first time for the special event in the four-wide format. During Saturday’s qualifying sessions, the drivers who reached the quarterfinals in Phoenix will re-run the quarterfinals in the 4-Wide format with the four winners advancing to the “finals” earning additional purse and championship bonus points. 

“We certainly appreciate the opportunity to run this event and thank Mission Foods for committing the money,” Kalitta said. “It’s a cool challenge, and it’s great that they continued the program after moving up to be the series sponsor.

“I always like running the four-wide events; it’s just something different,” Kalitta added. “It’s something Bruton Smith wanted to try, and I always liked to support him. He did a lot for our sport, for sure, at his facilities so we always like to return that support. I’ve never won a four-wide event so getting a win at one of those events is definitely on my radar.”

This story was originally published on April 10, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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