Kalitta Motorsports restructures for 2009

Kalitta Motorsports restructures for the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series YPSILANTI, Mich., (Jan. 6, 2009) --Kalitta Motorsports, a legendary professional drag racing team founded and owned by drag racing icon Connie "the Bounty...

Kalitta Motorsports restructures for the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series

YPSILANTI, Mich., (Jan. 6, 2009) --Kalitta Motorsports, a legendary professional drag racing team founded and owned by drag racing icon Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta and based in Ypsilanti, Mich., just minutes from the Detroit city limits, will compete in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series with one full-time entry, the DHL Toyota Solara Funny Car driven by Jeff Arend. Also in 2009, Kalitta Motorsports will celebrate 50 years of drag racing by Connie as he commemorates the golden landmark as a driver, tuner, and owner.

Jon Oberhofer and Nick Boninfante will serve as co-crew chiefs on the nitro-fueled DHL Funny Car in 2009, replacing Glenn Mikres who was relieved of his duties as crew chief of the DHL car after the conclusion of last season. Arend joined Kalitta Motorsports last season to assume the driving duties of the DHL entry after the tragic death of Scott Kalitta as the result of injuries he suffered in a high-speed racing accident in June in New Jersey.

Top Fuel veteran Doug Kalitta, Connie's nephew, will compete in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series in the Top Fuel class on a part-time, race-by-race basis as the team searches for full-time primary sponsor. Doug's Top Fuel entry will be helmed by crew chief Jim Oberhofer and assistant crew chief Troy Fasching. Doug, a two-time Top Fuel championship runner-up and 30-time NHRA national event winner, and Kalitta Motorsports were notified last December that longtime backer Mac Tools would not return as the dragster's primary sponsor in 2009, but will remain with Kalitta Motorsports as an associate sponsor.

The Top Fuel dragster driven by Hillary Will last season, owned by Ken Black and managed by Kalitta Motorsports, will not compete until primary sponsorship funding is acquired. Also sidelined until a primary sponsor can be found will be the Top Fuel machine piloted by Dave Grubnic at Kalitta Motorsports since 2004.

"We run our race team just like a business, and in these economically difficult times, our business has to make some tough decisions," Jim Oberhofer, Kalitta Motorsports general manager, said. "Connie's business, Kalitta Air, has been no exception to fiscal challenges either, so we have made the changes to our race team that we feel will give us the best financial stability possible as well as the best opportunity to compete at the highest level. We certainly hope that opportunities will arise for us to bring our other dragsters back into competition, but until those happen, we will carry on the best we can.

"Despite the challenges, we are very excited about the 2009 season. Connie has done so much for our sport, and we want to celebrate that at every event. Over the past 50 years, Connie has dedicated so much of his time and resources to building one of the most successful teams in the history of auto racing. We want to make sure everyone knows how important he is to us and to drag racing throughout 2009 and beyond.

"We're also very thankful to DHL for their commitment to our team and to NHRA drag racing. They have been wonderful partners since joining our organization in 2007. We're looking forward to continuing to build upon our great partnership and great friendship with them in 2009."

Kalitta Motorsports has won five world championships and over 50 national event titles in five different drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.

-credit: km

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