OPTIMA Sponsored NHRA Driver David Grubnic Grabs Runnerup

Native Australian David Grubnic, driver of the OPTIMA® Batteries Top Fuel dragster for Kalitta Motorsports, raced to a runner-up finish in Sunday’s eliminations of the annual running of the NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Seattle.

Grubnic and the OPTIMA Batteries team qualified in the No. 2 (3.765 seconds, 317.57 mph) slot for Sunday’s eliminations, missing his second-consecutive No. 1 spot by only .001 of a second. Grubnic defeated Brandon Bernstein in round one by running the quickest elapsed time of the round, 3.789 sec., 317.72 mph to 3.827 sec., 311.34 mph. In round two, Grubnic’s quick right foot helped him and his team get a slight holeshot win over Clay Millican, 3.848 sec., 311.49 mph to 3.840 sec., 310.05 mph. The margin of victory for the Optima Batteries dragster was only approximately 17 inches.

In the semifinals, Grubnic faced first-time semifinalist T.J. Zizzo. Once the “Christmas Tree” went green, Grubnic was out of the gate first and never trailed as Zizzo had traction problems, 3.847 sec., 310.55 mph to 4.611 sec., 167.74 mph. Grubnic’s win over Zizzo sent him to the 17th final round of his career and first “money round” of the season.

In the final, it was Grubnic this time who suffered traction problems in the OPTIMA Batteries entry before 300 ft., and Lucas was able to pull away for the event win, 4.253 sec., 256.31 mph to 3.908 sec., 296.57 mph.

“Our OPTIMA Batteries car was one of the best cars on the property in Seattle and we’re extremely happy about that even though we didn’t get the win,” Grubnic, a 50-year old resident of Bozeman, Montan, said. “Sure we’re disappointed we didn’t go home with the trophy, but Connie (Kalitta, team owner and crew chief) and the entire OPTIMA Batteries team did an awesome job all weekend so we’re not hanging our heads. We made up some valuable points and that’s great.”

Top Fuel drivers now have only two events remaining to qualify for NHRA’s six-event “playoff”, the Countdown to the Championship, by being in the top ten in Mello Yello championship points when racing concludes at the famed U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Aug. 28-Sept. 2. Grubnic is currently in 11th place, 78 points away from the top ten. He entered the event in Seattle 126 points behind 10th place.

Grubnic is an 18-year Top Fuel veteran and earned his first career Top Fuel victory in Topeka, Kansas 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”.