Englishtown: John Force Racing Saturday notes

JFR FUNNY CARS STAY ATOP QUALIFYING LADDER IN ENGLISHTOWN -Fourth Qualifying Session Cancelled Following Kalitta Crash- (ENGLISHTOWN, NJ) --- All four John Force Racing Ford Mustang Funny Cars will head into eliminations at the 39th annual Lucas...

JFR FUNNY CARS STAY ATOP QUALIFYING LADDER IN ENGLISHTOWN
-Fourth Qualifying Session Cancelled Following Kalitta Crash-

(ENGLISHTOWN, NJ) --- All four John Force Racing Ford Mustang Funny Cars will head into eliminations at the 39th annual Lucas Oil SuperNationals tomorrow with heavy hearts following the tragic death of fellow Funny Car competitor Scott Kalitta during the fourth round of qualifying today.

High temperatures solidified the quick elapsed times from the Friday night qualifying session for Ashley and John Force as well as Robert Hight. The only change was Mike Neff and the Old Spice Ford Mustang team slipping one spot from 9th to 10th place after Tim Wilkerson made an exceptional run of 4.863 seconds during the first session on Saturday at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta, 46, died Saturday from multiple injuries suffered after his car went out of control and crashed in a high-speed racing accident during the fourth and final round of qualifying.

Kalitta was extracted from his car by NHRA emergency services officials and transported to Old Bridge Township Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Kalitta, a two-time NHRA POWERade Series Top Fuel champion and one of only 14 drivers in NHRA history to earn victories in both premier nitro categories, earned 18 victories during his career, his last coming in Chicago in 2005 in Top Fuel.

Kalitta earned most of his racing success in Top Fuel, where he claimed back-to-back world championship titles in 1994 and 1995. He retired from racing in 1997, sitting out most of two seasons before returning for a 10-race campaign in 1999. He sat out three more seasons following that brief stint and then returned again in 2003, joining cousin Doug as a second driver for the family's two Top Fuel dragsters.

In a tragic twist Kalitta's last run was quick enough to qualify him for the field of sixteen and he will be paired against the Auto Club's driver Robert Hight.

"I never want to get a single in eliminations. I want to race someone every time I go down the track. To get a single this way is just terrible. I remember when I was just a test driver for John Force and Eric Medlen had just started racing," said Hight. "Eric would talk with Scott (Kalitta) all the time and I was always right there listening and learning. Scott was a world champion and you could always count on him to help you out."

* * * *

THE DRIVERS
JOHN FORCE, 59, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang
Saturday Qualifying: 3rd at 4.810 seconds, 321.12 mph
First Round Opponent: Tommy Johnson Jr.

ASHLEY FORCE, 25, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Saturday Qualifying: 2nd at 4.803 seconds, 314.75 mph
First Round Opponent (W-L): Tony Pedregon (2-4)

ROBERT HIGHT, 38, Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang
Saturday Qualifying: 4th at 4.810 seconds, 303.71 mph
First Round Opponent (W-L): Scott Kalitta (1-1)

MIKE NEFF, 41, Old Spice Ford Mustang
Saturday Qualifying: 10th at 4.870 seconds, 306.12 mph
First Round Opponent (W-L): Ron Capps (1-0)

-credit: jfr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Ron Capps , John Force , Scott Kalitta , Tim Wilkerson , Eric Medlen , Robert Hight , Mike Neff , Tommy Johnson Jr.