People, Places & Racing News

TWO-TIME NHRA TOP FUEL CHAMPION SCOTT KALITTA DEAD AT 46

NEWS NUGGETS

SCOTT KALITTA MEMORIAL SERVICE SET: A public memorial service to celebrate the life of Scott Kalitta will be held Thursday, June 26, at 7 p.m., at Ernsthausen Performing Arts Center, 350 Shady Lane Dr., Norwalk, OH 44857. The Kalitta family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School and B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe). For more information on those programs, including addresses and contact information, visit www.nhra.com. Kalitta, 46, died Saturday, June 21, from multiple injuries suffered in a high-speed racing accident during the fourth round of qualifying at the Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals in Englishtown, New Jersey.

KALITTA MOTORSPORTS PLANS TO COMPETE IN NORWALK EVENT: Following the tragic death of teammate, family member and friend Scott Kalitta, the remaining Kalitta Motorsports drivers, Doug Kalitta, Dave Grubnic and Hillary Will, along with their teams, will compete this weekend at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, June 26–29 in Norwalk, Ohio.
    “We’re a race team, and that’s what we do,” said Jim Oberhofer, Kalitta Motorsports general manager. “Scott was a drag racer to the core, and he would want us to compete in Norwalk, so we’re going to go racing this weekend. Our thoughts will of course be with his wife, Kathy, and his sons, Corey and Colin, and [Father] Connie, but we feel it’s the right thing to do.”

SCHUMACHER, WILKERSON, ANDERSON, ELLIS WIN IN SOMBER SETTING AT ENGLISHTOWN: In a day overshadowed by the loss of Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta, Tony Schumacher, Tim Wilkerson, Greg Anderson and Chip Ellis won in their perspective categories at the 39th annual Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals in Englishtown, New Jersey, this past weekend.
    For Schumacher, his first win in 12 years of competition at the famed track and 46th career win (moving him within six of Joe Amato for the most all-time wins in the category) was a difficult one in view of the situation surrounding the event. “Today’s race was extremely tough to get through from an emotional standpoint,” said Schumacher. “But we managed to take car of business like Scott would have wanted us to.”
    Wilkerson’s win in Funny Car was his third in four final round appearances this season. It also strengthened his lead in the point standings over second-place Ashley Force by 132. Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson picked up his third win of the season and 54th at the event, while Chip Ellis found the winner’s circle for the first time in over two years in Pro Stock Motorcycle. For more on the event, including driver quotes and reactions from the day, visit www.nhra.com.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA NATIONALS, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT MOTORSPORTS PARK, JUNE 26–29: Heading back to Norwalk for the second annual event, drivers in all four categories have a chance to build up the points needed before the end of the regular season. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Mike Ashley (Funny Car); Dave Connolly (Pro Stock); and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

MOPAR MILE-HIGH NHRA NATIONALS, BANDIMERE SPEEDWAY, JULY 11–13: The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series returns to the Mile-High city for the beginning of the Western Swing and 50th anniversary of Bandimere Speedway. Defending event winners include Rod Fuller (Top Fuel); Jack Beckman (Funny Car); Allen Johnson (Pro Stock); and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

SCHUCK’S AUTO SUPPLY NHRA NATIONALS, PACIFIC RACEWAYS, JULY 18–20: The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series heads to the northwest for the second race on the famed Western Swing. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Jack Beckman (Funny Car); and Dave Connolly (Pro Stock).

HE SAID, SHE SAID

REMEMBERING A CHAMPION:

“Scott was great! I just loved being around him.”—Brandon Bernstein

“Scott was a racer’s racer, and we were, of course, thinking about him and his family and team all day long. He would’ve wanted everybody out here racing.”—Melanie Troxel

“Even though it was tough to race today, I know Scott would have kicked me in the butt and said, ‘Suck it up; quit being a wimp.’”—Ron Capps

“As far as I’m concerned, Scott Kalitta was already a legend, and he’ll be one forever because he was a champion on the track and a champion off it.”—Del Worsham

For more driver quotes, visit the Scott Kalitta special section on www.nhra.com.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

2-18-20: The career statistics for Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta. Two consecutive world championships in Top Fuel (1994, 1995), 18 wins (17 in Top Fuel, 1 in Funny Car) and 20 No. 1 qualifiers (19 in Top Fuel, 1 in Funny Car).

DID YOU KNOW…

…that Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta finished within the top five in the POWERade Point Standings six times and in the top ten 10 times in his 26 year career.

For more information, visit www.nhra.com.