Veteran NHRA Top Fuel driver David Baca has been tabbed to fill the recently-vacated Matco Tools dragster seat at the final two events on the 2007 NHRA schedule team owner David Powers announced today.


Baca, a native of Concord, Calif., earned his NHRA Top Fuel license in 2002 and made his professional debut at the fall Las Vegas race that same year. He has reached the final round three times and has two career pole awards, including the U.S. Nationals in 2003. The second generation Top Fuel racer advanced to the final round at the 2006 Winternationals and raced to a 12th place finish last season. Baca’s father, Dennis, won the U.S. Nationals Top Fuel crown in 1977.


“What an opportunity,” Baca said. “To sit at home and watch the NHRA on TV every weekend and to get a call from Mr. Powers to run the car for Matco Tools is just an awesome feeling. I got chills when he asked me to fill the seat at Las Vegas and Pomona. Just to be remembered and considered is a great feeling. I know I’ve still got it and I’ll do my best to represent the team and sponsors. It’s really a dream come true.


“This is a great ride and I look forward to working with Lee (Beard) and the Matco Tools team. Yes, we want to win races, but we also want to help Hot Rod (Fuller) bring home this Top Fuel championship.”


Baca will guide one of the premier rides in NHRA drag racing at ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals, Oct. 25-28, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the Auto Club Finals, Nov. 1-4, at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona (Calif.). Baca drove to a seventh place finish during the 2003 NHRA season that saw him advance to his first career Top Fuel final round at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. He also earned two poles (Indianapolis and Memphis) that season. He last competed at the Auto Club Finals last November.


“David (Baca) has been a friend and fellow competitor for the past three years,” Powers said. “I felt with the talented skills that he’s demonstrated as a driver that he was the best choice to compete at the final two races this season. We communicated this with our sponsors and Matco Tools and David Powers Motorsports feels that David Baca represents our values and gives us the best chance of putting the Matco car in the winner’s circle.


“David will only be in the car for these final two races. He is not a candidate to drive the car in 2008 and beyond. He has personal business interests that he tends to in Northern California.”


The Matco Tools dragster enters penultimate event on the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series schedule ranked seventh in the Countdown to the Championship standings. The Matco-backed rail advanced to the final round at Bandimere Speedway in July and earned the pole at Houston Raceway Park in late March. The Lee Beard-tuned rail also has clocked low E.T. and top speed of the meet honors twice this season.