Kalitta earns first win in over year


POMONA, Calif. -- Doug Kalitta earned his first Top Fuel victory in more than a year Tuesday at the rain-delayed Kragen O'Reilly Winternationals, the first event of the NHRA season.

Ron Capps won the Funny Car competition and Jason Line won Pro Stock at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. After five straight days of rain delays, the finals were completed under clear blue skies.

Kalitta raced his dragster to a winning run of 3.822 seconds at a top speed of 308.57 mph to beat top qualifier Antron Brown, whose dragster trailed with a 3.847 at 307.16.

"We're back," Kalitta said after his 31st career victory. "It was kind of a dry spell for us last year. The new team I have this year is really great and they are hungry to win, so I am glad we were able to get it done today."

Kalitta said he was thrilled to win at the same track where his uncle Connie Kalitta, who is celebrating his 50th anniversary in the sport this year, and his cousin Scott, who was killed last year in a crash at Englishtown, N.J., had both previously won.

"I think of Scott when I am up on the line all of the time and still use some of the techniques he taught me to get motivated before a race, so he's always riding with me," Kalitta said. "

Capps also ended a yearlong winless drought in Funny Car, posting a performance of 4.154 seconds at a top speed of 296.96 mph in a Dodge Charger to hold off surprise finalist Jim Head.

It was Capps' 26th career victory and second at this event.

Line claimed his 16th victory in Pro Stock and first at this track by outrunning Mike Edwards in the final round. Line drove his Pontiac GXP to a 6.567 at a track-record speed of 211.63 mph to hold off Edwards.