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Posted: Feb 26, 2013

OPTIMA®-sponsored driver, Grubnic’s superb driving job nets round win in Phoenix

Grubby.jpgNative Australian David Grubnic, a 50-year old resident of Bozeman, Montana, started the season strong in back to back events behind the wheel of the OPTIMA® Batteries Top Fuel Dragster for Kalitta Motorsports in 2013. The NHRA Mello Yello Series took to Firebird International Raceway for the Arizona Nationals this past weekend.

Grubnic started the weekend just the way he wanted it: with a quick run. The 3.783-second pass was the second best of the first session, and proved that you would have to go through Kalitta Motorsports to win the race in Phoenix. Although that was the team’s best past in qualifying, the OPTIMA Batteries team backed it up with a 3.785-second pass in the second session and a 3.816 second pass in the final session on Saturday. For his efforts, Grubnic earned the No. 4 qualifying position and drew the 13th-seeded rookie Brittany Force for the first time.

On Sunday, Grubnic and the Connie Kalitta-led team chose to run in the third pair. The OPITMA Batteries team went with an aggressive set-up, and the car smoked the tires early. However, Grubnic did a masterful job driving the car and was able to speed past a tire-smoking Force near the 1,000 foot mark for a round win.

In the second round, Grubnic’s OPTIMA Batteries machine unexpectedly suffered the same tire-smoking fate, but this time Grubnic could not recover his rail ride in time to chase down winner Morgan Lucas.

“The OPTIMA Batteries team worked so hard this weekend, and we made several great runs,” said Grubnic, who has qualified in the top five in both events thus far this season. “We are excited about the data we have and know that we will have something for them in Gainesville (Florida, next event).”

Grubnic’s solid start to the season has placed him solidly in the Countdown for the Championship top ten. He picked up one points position this weekend as he is now in sixth, less than one round outside of the top five.

Grubnic is an 18-year Top Fuel veteran and earned his first career Top Fuel victory in Topeka in 2005, becoming the first racer born outside North America to win an NHRA Top Fuel event. Grubnic, known affectionately by his peers and fans as “Grubby,” is coming off another great NHRA season in 2012. He picked up his third career victory at Topeka early in the season last year and combined the win with semi-final finishes at Norwalk, Seattle and St. Louis to give him another Countdown to the Championship placement and another season in the top ten in the final standings.

Grubnic’s crew chief, the legendary Connie Kalitta, celebrated his 75th birthday on Sunday.

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