:::::: News ::::::


It’s nine o’clock Friday morning and
the usual suspects have started assembling in the vast airplane hangar at
Kalitta Charters. This group of Kalitta Motorsports fly boys of course includes
the two most well known flying Kalittas, drag racing patriarch Connie and his
nephew and quarter-mile ace Doug, who will soon take their respective helms as
pilots of this aerial adventure. Also on the passenger list are two Team Kalitta
crew guys who have crisscrossed the country many times taking off and landing at
one NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event after another with Doug and Connie.

Scott Finnis has been flying with
the Kalittas for the longest amount of time. Finnis’ association with one of the
most respected names in drag racing history began when he signed on in 1993 to
help as a crewman for Doug when the younger Kalitta was still driving open-wheel
Sprint racers in USAC. Finnis worked with the Sprint car team until 1998 when
Doug got the call from his uncle to go straight line racing in the family
business. According to Finnis, he helped back then with “everything but putting
together motors”. Doug, with the guidance of his father Doug Sr., crew chief and
engine builder Jerry Danowski and Finnis, captured the 1994 USAC Sprint Car
World Championship as well as runner-up points finishes the two following


countdown.gifMelanie Troxel looks like she may have learned from 2006, a season that
began with her setting the world on fire only to settle back into
fourth place by season’s end.

Heading into last weekend’s O’Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals, the
seventh of 17 races in the first stage of the new Countdown playoff
format, Troxel was, instead of setting the pace, stalking the pace.


Consecutive DNQs cannot break Morgan Lucas’ confidence.

“Last weekend was just a growing pain for us,” Lucas said. “We run a
different combination than Rahn [Tobler] is used to running. We are
just taking some time for him to get used to it and get acclimated with
how it works.

“Lance and Rahn are working well together. They are having fun. I think
when everything begins working as it should – it will be a perfect fit.
I just think that over time we will get the data we need. That’s all we


Chip Ellis needed less
than an inch during a semi-final loss to Angelle Sampey. That would have been
enough to erase a .001 finish line deficit. Both riders had .008 reactions and Sampey’s
7.017 elapsed time was a tad bit quicker.

Never had Ellis, rider for
the G2 Team, wanted a win so badly. Ellis wanted to win for his grandfather
Herb Ellis, who was brutally murdered the weekend before St. Louis.


Pat Dakin, driver for the legendary Rupp & Dakin team that tore up
the drag racing circuit in the early 1970s, can't wait to reunite with
old pals at the Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion, presented by
SoffSeal, June 15-17 at National Trail Raceway near Columbus, Ohio.
Dakin wants to tell stories about his old partner, Gary Rupp,
especially the ones that are not suitable for publication. Rupp &
Dakin – named among the Honorees of the Reunion – ran one of the nicest
looking dragsters of its day. Dakin drove and Rupp was the car owner.
The team began racing in 1970 in a gas car and then made the switch to
a front-engine fuel dragster in 1971. They switched to a rear engine
Woody Gilmore car in 1972 and bought another one in '74-'75 and kept
that one until '77 when they quit. Dakin said, "We came back in '89 and
won an IHRA World Championship and then bought a Don Long car and
stayed together through the 1993 season." Then Rupp moved to Florida,
effectively ending the team. Dakin found a new partner in Tom Kattelman
and continued to race, but he never went further west than Texas. The
team was victorious in Canada in '71 and '73. Dakin still has the '89
car and is attempting to put it back together in time for the Reunion.
Here are some of his thoughts on the upcoming Reunion:


AlphaTrade Battle for the Belts points standings

May 6, 2007; through 3 of 8 events; all points pending ADRL approval)

top eight points-earners in each class at the completion of the ADRL Eastern
Race Fuels DRAGSTOCK IV event, Sept. 14-15, qualify for the AlphaTrade Battle
for the Belts championship eliminators, Oct. 12 at the AlphaTrade ADRL World


Birthday presents come in all shapes and sizes but none compare to the one Team
Torco delivered to their sponsor Evan Knoll during the NHRA O'Reilly Midwest
Nationals in St. Louis, MO. Knoll celebrated his birthday over the course of the
race weekend.

The tally for those weekend gifts included three national
event victories, two runner-ups, two semi-final finishes, two #1 qualifiers, an
elapsed time world record and a handful of track records.
“I am so proud of our teams,” Knoll said. “I wish I would have
been there, but this was a real treat. This is a birthday I will always
remember. My teams deliver a lot … week in and week out … but this race was
really special.”
Melanie Troxel culminated the incredible weekend by capturing
the Top Fuel crown behind the wheel of a car that Knoll unselfishly donated to
honor the Vietnam Veterans and POW-MIA families and servicemen. Her weekend
began from the bottom half of the ladder but when it was all said and done, she
was the Queen of the Hill topping Cory McClenathan, who also carries the Torco
Race Fuels logo emblazoned alongside primary sponsor Fram-Bendix.
“Evan is a special guy and we wanted to reach down deep and
pull off something special for him,” Troxel said. “He’s given so much to us, it
just feels great to be able to give back.”
This marked Troxel’s first 2007 victory in two finals. The
weekend thrust her into the fifth spot for the championship
Mike Ashley drove his Fuel Doctor-nicknamed, Knoll tribute
Dodge Charger to a third consecutive #1 qualifying effort as well as a new
Gateway International Raceway speed track record. His weekend delivered a strong
semi-final finish.


Clay Millican will soon drive Evan Knoll's forthcoming Top Fuel dragster promoting the
legendary Eighties hair band Ratt. Expect an official release coming
soon, but for now here's a sneak peak of the dragster's electrifying


Shawn Gann’s misfortune provided an excellent opportunity for
aspiring Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Angie McBride. Gann was injured in
a non-racing pit bike accident where he suffered a cracked skull and
three blood clots on his spine.

The doctor’s prognosis will enable him to return following Sonoma. Until then, McBride is on the job.


superstar Top Fuel pilot Melanie Troxel won her first race of the 2007
season and the third of her career Sunday at the 11th annual O'Reilly
NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway in St. Louis.
Troxel outlasted veteran Cory McClenathan, 4.741 to 5.355, in the money
round to become just the second female winner in track history.

Ron Capps extended his lead in the POWERade Funny Car points to 121
with his third victory of the year, this one over Del Worsham. Dave
Connolly topped teammate Jeg Coughlin by .016 seconds to move into
second place overall in Pro Stock, while Matt Smith used a stunning
national record elapsed time of 6.901 seconds to earn the Pro stock
Motorcycle hardware over three-time Gateway winner Angelle Sampey.