In his first pass of 2020, the supercharger on Doug Kalitta’s Mac Tools Dragster backfired. It was spectacular-looking, but that wasn’t exactly how he had hoped to start the year. And he knew exactly who to blame for the mishap.
But, as Jimmy Buffett sang in in his hit song “Margaritaville,” Kalitta could join in: “It’s my own damn fault.”
“Yeah, just kind of screwed up up there. One of those deals,” the 2019 Top Fuel runner-up to Steve Torrence said. “Double-stepped. So it was me.
“I just wasn’t comfortable. It was just one of those deals that everything is new: new seat, helmet, everything. It was just kind of all out of sorts, for whatever reason,” he said.
His performance improved, though, and he closed the day with a 3.841-second elapsed time that was third-quickest Thursday among dragsters showing. That came with a 251.58-mph speed.
The car is the same one he excelled with in 2019, but, he said, “Just a different seat insert, different suit, different helmet – and it just wasn’t real comfortable in that suit, either. So I just got to work through these. That’s why we’re here to test and obviously try to get comfortable in your car.”
Naturally, it was better that the issues arose in testing rather than at next week’s season-opener at Pomona, Calif. – which Kalitta won last February. He also won the Finals there at Auto Club Raceway last November.
“Yeah, we’ve had good luck there,” he said with a smile.
In Kalitta’s second run Thursday, he said, “we just shut it off.” It was a planned shutoff.
And he changed his firesuit.
“I went back to my old suit,” he said as he worked on his seat insert in the pits. “I’m trying to get this seat a little more comfortable, because it’s just tight and it’s one of those deals that sometimes you have to work on making a little more comfortable. So that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing here.”
The reason he got a new seat for his cockpit was that, in his words, “My other insert was really thin and kind of just real busted up and just old. It had been a while since I changed out the insert. They did a nice job on this one, though. So I’ll get it tweaked around and it’ll be good.”