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NHRA: Doug Kalitta Wins Big Bud Shootout at Pomona

16 November 1998

POMONA, Calif. - Doug Kalitta is closing out the NHRA Winston Drag Racing season in style. Today the rookie Top Fuel dragster driver won the 14th annual Big Bud Shootout at Pomona, winning the $100,000 top prize.

Held in conjunction with the season-ending Winston Finals, the Big Bud Shootout is a bonus race for the eight drivers accumulating the most points during qualifying at the previous 21 events. Kalitta, 34, of Ann Arbor, Mich., qualified seventh for the event at the wheel of his American International Airways/Kitty Hawk entry.

In round one Kalitta defeated six-time BBSO champion Joe Amato of Wilkes- Barre, Pa., 4.615 seconds at 315.78 mph to Amato's 4.734 at 296.24. Round two found Kalitta paired up with Cory McClenathan of Anaheim, Calif. Kalitta got the jump off the starting line and kept on going with a winning time of 4.576 at a career-best 320.85 mph to a losing 4.646 at 300.60. In the final round Kalitta squared off with Eddie Hill of Wichita Falls, Texas. Kalitta got a great start off the line and held on defeating Hill 4.599 at 313.26 to Hill's 4.620 at 307.06.

Kalitta is just the fifth driver to win the Big Bud Shootout in their first appearance in the event. Should he win Sunday's running of the Winston Finals he would collect a $50,000 bonus from NHRA for "doubling-up." Only one Top Fuel driver, Amato in 1990, has ever done so.

Final qualifying for the Winston Finals found Kalitta in the number three position with a time of 4.576 at 320.85. The winner of one event this season, Kalitta will face Tony Schumacher of Park Ridge, Ill., in round one. These two have met twice this season with Kalitta winning both times.

Connie Kalitta, Doug's teammate and uncle, did not make the field in his Kitty Hawk entry. Kalitta's best time of 4.791 at 286.44 put him in the number 17 spot.