Denver: Team Kalitta preview

Team Kalitta ready to "Go the Grand" in Denver while still mourning the loss of Scott Kalitta DENVER, Colo., (July 9, 2008) -- This weekend, July 11-13, the drag racing contingent of Kalitta Motorsports, drivers Doug Kalitta, Hillary Will, and...

Team Kalitta ready to "Go the Grand" in Denver while still mourning the loss of Scott Kalitta

DENVER, Colo., (July 9, 2008) -- This weekend, July 11-13, the drag racing contingent of Kalitta Motorsports, drivers Doug Kalitta, Hillary Will, and Dave Grubnic and their respective teams, travel to Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., just outside of Denver, with the other competitors of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series for the annual running of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals.

Doug, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, Will, driver of he KB Racing, LLC Top Fueler, and native Australian Grubnic, driver of the DHL dragster, enter this weekend's racing in the Rockies still reeling from the tragic death of their teammate less than three weeks ago.

Scott Kalitta, a two-time former NHRA Top Fuel champion, died June 21, 2008, as the result of multiple injuries suffered in a Funny Car qualifying accident at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., during the running of the Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals. He was 46.

Since Scott's accident, which remains under investigation, the NHRA and its race teams have moved quickly to work toward improvements in safety concerning in particular engine explosions, parachute failures, braking efficiency, shutdown areas, and speed reduction.

This weekend, the NHRA will also institute a new racing distance for the nitro-fueled classes of Funny Car and Top Fuel dragster to 1,000 ft., as opposed to the traditional distance of 1,320 ft., or a quarter of a mile. The unprecedented action will give the drivers of the world's quickest and fastest racing vehicles an extra 320 ft. to safely bring their cars to a stop.

Kalitta Motorsports General Manager Jim Oberhofer, who also serves as crew chief on Will's dragster, is confident that moving the finish line to 1,000 ft. is the best action that can be taken for now. "In light of Scott's accident, we think the shortening of the race distance is the best immediate solution that the NHRA could make to help prevent further accidents similar to Scott's from happening.

"It's a temporary fix, but it's the best we can do as a racing community to keep all of our racers safe until a more permanent resolution can be determined."

Entering this weekend's competition in Denver, Will is in 7th place in POWERade championship points while Grubnic and Doug take the No. 9 and 10 spots in points respectively.

Scott won the Top Fuel title three times at scenic Bandimere Speedway (2004, 1995 and 1994).

-credit: km

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , Scott Kalitta , Jim Oberhofer