Grubnic Begins Candlewood Suites “Swing” Mission This Weekend in Houston


For the next three events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, Native Australian David Grubnic will command the controls of the electric blue flame-adorned Candlewood Suites Top Fuel dragster for Kalitta Motorsports, with OPTIMA® Batteries riding along as an Associate Sponsor. Grubnic’s special mission, the Candlewood Suites “Swing”, launches this weekend in Baytown, Texas, just a few miles from the Houston city limits, at the annual running of the NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway.

At the previous event in Charlotte last weekend, Grubnic made a quick exit from the racing action with a rare round one loss in eliminations. With three elimination-round wins so far this season, Grubnic and the Candlewood Suites team are looking to add four more round wins to their tally and collect the “Wally” trophy in the process to place a fourth coveted statue on Grubnic’s mantle.

“We’ve had great success with our Candlewood Suites partnership, and we’re looking forward to continuing that trend in Houston, the rest of the Candlewood Suites Swing and beyond,” Grubnic, a 50-year old resident of Bozeman, Mont., said. “Connie (Kalitta, team owner, drag racing icon, and crew chief) has been fine tuning a new set-up for the race car that we think will give us even more of a competitive edge, hopefully we will see a big payoff in Houston!”

Grubnic is also a self-proclaimed NASA buff with an incredible amount of knowledge about outer space, rockets, and all things stellar stored in his brain ready to burst out to anyone who engages him in the subject. Since Houston is the home NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Grubnic has prepared a special YouTube video to reveal the humorous secret that makes his Candlewood Suites horizontal rocket propel to over 320 mph in only 1,000 ft. –

The BIG SECRET of NHRA Top Fuel Drag Racing REVEALED by David Grubnic of Candlewood Suites.

"Just being nearby all of the history and power of the U.S. space program makes my spine tingle. It’s truly amazing how they put a man on the Moon. It’s sort of like how we can get a 10,000-horsepower Top Fueler to accelerate to over 100 mph in the first 60 ft. of the race. Well, maybe it’s not quite as cool but still great stuff!"

In Mello Yello championship points, Grubnic currently occupies the 10th position, only 58 points away from breaking into 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. He has garnered three NHRA Top Fuel national event victories so far. The always-affable Grubnic is known affectionately by his peers and fans as “Grubby”.

Follow David “Grubby” Grubnic:


Event Schedule:

The NHRA SpringNationals begin Friday for two qualifying sessions at 4:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (CT). Team Kalitta and all the Nitro-powered pros will have two more qualifying sessions on Saturday at 12:45 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. The top 16 qualified cars in each Nitro class will race Sunday in final eliminations beginning at 11:00 a.m. 
Times and dates subject to change.

ESPN2 LIVE TV Schedule:
Saturday and Sunday event coverage on ESPN2 will showcase live programming. ESPN2’s exclusive weekend coverage from Houston will begin with a live show on Saturday, April 27, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. (ET) showcasing the final round of qualifying from the event. Sunday’s telecast will begin at 2:00 p.m. (ET) with live coverage of both semifinal and final rounds in a three-hour telecast.

Times and dates subject to change.