NHRA Top Fueler Hillary Will to vie for the Scott Kalitta Memorial Trophy in Australia
YPSILANTI, Mich., (Dec. 18, 2008) -- NHRA Top Fuel star Hillary Will, the world's fastest female, along with a crew of mechanics led by venerable crew chief and Top Fuel tuner Jim Oberhofer, will travel across the world this holiday season to compete for the inaugural Scott Kalitta Memorial Trophy at the Shannons U.S.A. Top Fuel Showdown at Western Sydney Int'l Dragway in Sydney, Australia, Dec. 26-27.
"I'm so excited about this opportunity" Will, a 28-year old native of Fortuna, Calif., said. "It's wonderful to get a chance to go to Australia and race our dragster, but it's even more special to have a chance to go there and win the first Scott Kalitta Memorial Trophy. Scott was my mentor, and we all still miss him very much. It would be such an honor for me and all of us at Kalitta Motorsports to bring the trophy home with us."
"We boxed everything up right after the Finals in Pomona (Calif.) and put it on a ship for Australia," Oberhofer commented. "The car we are racing in Sydney is the exact same car that we raced in the U.S., so we'll be really familiar with it and it should be ready to make good laps right out of the box."
The 2008 racing season was the best of Hillary Will's three-year career as a professional driver. Will became the fastest woman in the world when she posted a 335-MPH lap down the quarter-mile race track at the first event in the 2008 NHRA season. Will then powered her 8,000-horsepower, nitro-fueled dragster to a career-high fourth place finish in championship points after scoring three final-round finishes and five semi-final round finishes. She picked up an emotional first NHRA national event title in Topeka, Kan., June 1, 2008.
Scott Kalitta, the 2005 and 2006 champion of the U.S.A. vs. Australia Top Fuel Showdown, died June 21, 2008, from injuries he suffered in a high-speed Funny Car racing accident at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park during qualifying for the NHRA national event in Englishtown, N.J.
Scott, the son of Kalitta Motorsports team owner and drag racing legend Connie Kalitta, was a two-time NHRA Top Fuel World Champion (1994-1995) and the winner of 18 NHRA national events (17 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car). Scott is survived by his father, Connie; wife, Kathy; and sons, Corey, 15, and Colin, 9.
Scott continues to hold the Australian Top Fuel speed record, 332.84 mph, set in December, 2006, at WSID with Oberhofer at the helm. On that lap, Scott also posted the quickest Top Fuel time ever on Australian soil, 4.517 seconds.
Team Kalitta has set up a special Web site for the event "Down Under". Race fans can follow the two-day event as well as the rest of the team's happenings at www.kalittamemorial.com. The Web site will be updated frequently beginning December 20th with blogs, videos, photo galleries and more.