St. Louis: Scott Kalitta final report

Scott Kalitta and the DHL team defeated in heartbreaking loss in St. Louis MADISON, Ill., (May 4, 2008) -- Sunday at the O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Int'l Raceway in Madison, Ill., with the iconic Gateway Arch overseeing the ...

Scott Kalitta and the DHL team defeated in heartbreaking loss in St. Louis

MADISON, Ill., (May 4, 2008) -- Sunday at the O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Int'l Raceway in Madison, Ill., with the iconic Gateway Arch overseeing the quarter-mile action from just across the Mississippi River, Scott Kalitta, driver of the DHL Toyota Solara Funny Car, and his DHL team were thwarted from a round one victory in a highlight reel-esque race that was decided by less than three feet at the finish line.

Kalitta, the No. 15 qualifier (4.822 sec., 324.98 mph), faced off against No. 2 qualifier Mike Ashley (4.768 sec., 327.82 mph) as Funny Car eliminations got underway under beautiful blue skies at GIR. Kalitta got out of the gate first (.087 sec., to .114 sec.) and looked like he was on his way to his second round win of the 2008 POWERade Drag Racing Series when Ashley's car suffered traction problems early in his lane. Kalitta's DHL mount then began to lose valuable grip on the race track around half-track. Both drivers struggled to get their 7,000-horspower floppers to recover. Kalitta had a big lead on the track, but a mechanical failure left him coasting toward the finish line. Ashley's race car recovered and charged after Kalitta to remarkably chase the DHL car down to get the win, 6.622 sec., 138.12 mph to 6.579 sec., 252.90 mph. The margin of victory for Ashley was a scant .0164 seconds.

"We just can't seem to catch a break," Kalitta, a 46-year old resident of Palmetto, Fla., said. "It's disappointing for me and our DHL team, but that's drag racing for you. Somebody has to lose, and that was us this time. We'll go to Bristol (Tenn., next event) and try again."

Kalitta is currently in 18th place in 2008 POWERade Funny Car championship points.

-credit: km

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Series NHRA
Drivers Scott Kalitta , Mike Ashley