Lee Callaway Brainerd final summary

Callaway reaches quarterfinals with heavy heart BRAINERD, Minn. - Sometimes life has a way of putting things in perspective. Such was the case for Lee Callaway, driver of the Skull Shine Products/Conway Automotive Top Alcohol Dragster during...

Callaway reaches quarterfinals with heavy heart

BRAINERD, Minn. - Sometimes life has a way of putting things in perspective. Such was the case for Lee Callaway, driver of the Skull Shine Products/Conway Automotive Top Alcohol Dragster during this past weekend's Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minn. Callaway had just won the first round of eliminations Saturday when he received the call that one of his closest friends and long time crew member Kenny Ruthart had been killed in a work related accident back at home in Texas.

Callaway, from Baytown, Texas, qualified the Tom Conway owned and tuned entry fifth in the field with a 5.399 at 261.93 mph. In round one he defeated the moonlighting Top Fuel driver Morgan Lucas on a holeshot with a 5.435 at 264.44 mph to Lucas' quicker-but-later 5.432 at 255.05 mph. The margin of victory was a mere .006 of a second. Callaway would then run former World Champion Art Gallant in round two on Sunday. Gallant took the win with a 5.301 at 268.65 mph to Callaway's 5.408 at 264.18 mph.

"The weekend was going pretty good until I got the call Saturday night," said Callaway. "It was a pretty long night after that. I'm not making excuses, it was just a very tough day. Tom had told me he would understand if I didn't want to race on Sunday. I knew that Kenny would be pretty mad at us if we did that."

Ruthart, 33, of Channelview, Texas, not only crewed for Callaway since he entered the Top Alcohol Dragster ranks in the early '90's, but was a close childhood friend to Callaway. He was known to many of his racing friends as "Mini Me." Services will be held at the Howard-Glendale Funeral Home, 1015 Federal Rd., Houston, Texas, 77015, 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

"He will be missed; we had a lot of good times," stated Callaway. "We didn't win this weekend for him, but we're going to do our best to win the rest for him."

-credit: conway motorsports

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Series NHRA
Drivers Morgan Lucas