It was going to take a win by Doug Kalitta and have Steve Torrence, the Top Fuel points leader, go out in the first round.
Back on October 4th at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Midwest Nationals, Doug captured his 49th career win and second of the 2020 season. That one stat is impressive, but Doug had one goal for this season. To win the championship.
With three races left to post more wins and add to Doug’s overall points total, the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster team really didn’t want it to come down to the final race of the year at the 2020 NHRA Finals in Las Vegas.
Coming into the final race of the season, the team remained positive, especially after running the third quickest time in the second round of qualifying moving them to the number three position. With fourteen Top Fuel dragsters competing for the win, Doug once again had to race Justin Ashley, the 2020 Rookie of the Year, in the first round, having bested him 3-2 in the win column.
After both dragsters left the lights hard, it was a full-on drag race, running side-by-side to the finish line. Unfortunately, it was Justin’s turn to best Doug and even the score. Even though The Mac Tools dragster posted an impressive 3.733 ET at 322.73 MPH, it wasn’t enough to catch Justin, who made the quickest run of the event, 3.700 ET at 325.61 MPH. Justin used a slightly better reaction time at the starting line, .041 vs Doug’s .048 to make the difference.
“We would have beaten just about everyone else out there”
We just got the wrong guy in the first round. Doug owned the points lead through the first six of eleven races, and was challenged to explain the results after going out in the first round.
The Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster team finished the 2020 NHRA season in second place for the second time in a row. The team now has to be thinking that good things come in 3’s. Bring on 2021.
With the 2020 NHRA season behind us, and despite all its challenges, uncertainties, it will be a year that will always be remembered. Powering through the pandemic.