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Tue, 24 Oct 2006, 10:17 AM

NHRA Top Fuel Points Leader Doug Kalitta and Von Dutch Team Up for NHRA Event in Las Vegas
Courtesy of Todd Myers


Kalitta's Von Dutch render.
In the American 1950s, a new craze swept the land of the free and the home of the brave in the form of big speed and big chrome. The hot rodding movement was born and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) was launched in 1951 to help keep hot rodders vital and safe. A fast hot rod was not complete then and now without custom-painted pinstripes and the best in the land with a striper's sword, a.k.a. brush, was Kenny Howard, a.k.a. Von Dutch.

The spirit of Von Dutch lives on today in everything from custom motorcycles to apparel and that spirit will also live at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend, Oct. 26-29, in the form of a custom, one-off paint scheme on the Top Fuel dragster, which is normally clad by Mac Tools, driven by NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series veteran and current Top Fuel championship points leader Doug Kalitta.

Kalitta, who won the fall Las Vegas event in 2004 and who holds the track record for speed at The Strip (335.57 mph), is eager to bring Von Dutch to Las Vegas on his 8,000-horsepower hot rod rail. "We're certainly excited about putting our Von Dutch/Mac Tools race car out on the track for the NHRA fans in Las Vegas. Hopefully we'll also get to display it in the winner's circle at The Strip."

Also this weekend at The Strip is the annual race within a race - the $100,000 Bud Shootout. Since Kalitta is in the top seven in Budweiser Shootout points (based on qualifying performances) coming into the Las Vegas event, he is guaranteed a starting position for Saturday's, Oct. 28, run for the money. Kalitta won the big payday in his NHRA rookie campaign of 1998 and then again in 2003.

Mac Tools and Von Dutch have also joined forces to create a custom tool box with over 23,400 cubic inches of storage space. The specialty Von Dutch-decorated tool box is available through Mac Tools distributors or by calling 1-800-MACTOOLS.

Kalitta holds an 83-point lead in POWERade Top Fuel championship points over second place with two events remaining on the 2006 NHRA national event schedule. Kalitta took over the points lead near the mid-season point in July in Denver and has held the top spot ever since.

Kalitta won back-to-back events in Bristol, Tenn., and Atlanta and then consecutively won again at events in Topeka, Kans., and Chicago earlier this season. His last win came in Memphis in August. He leads Top Fuel, the NHRA's quickest and fastest racing class, with five wins in 2006. His five wins this season ties a career-high mark for victories in a season that he set last year.

Kalitta, a 42-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., is a two-time Top Fuel championship points runner-up (2003-2004) and the 1998 Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner for rookie excellence. He has 29 career Top Fuel victories in 52 final-round appearances. Before joining the quarter-mile set, Kalitta raced in open-wheel competition and won the 1994 USAC National Sprint Car Championship. He is also the owner and president of Kalitta Charters, a charter airline service based at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Mich., alongside Kalitta Air, an airline freight service owned by his uncle, race team owner, and drag racing legend Connie Kalitta.

The ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals begins Friday, Oct. 27, for the Top Fuel class with two qualifying sessions at 3:30 p.m. (PT) and 6:00 p.m. Two more qualifying sessions follow on Saturday at 12:45 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The top 16 qualified cars will race Sunday in final eliminations beginning at 11:00 a.m.

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