WILL NAMED DRIVER OF BLACK / KALITTA TOP FUEL DRAGSTER YPSILANTI, Mich., (Aug. 16, 2005) -- Hillary Will, a native of Fortuna, Calif., has been chosen to drive the new Ken Black-owned, Kalitta Motorsports-managed Top Fuel dragster that will ...
WILL NAMED DRIVER OF BLACK / KALITTA TOP FUEL DRAGSTER
YPSILANTI, Mich., (Aug. 16, 2005) -- Hillary Will, a native of Fortuna, Calif., has been chosen to drive the new Ken Black-owned, Kalitta Motorsports-managed Top Fuel dragster that will compete on the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series circuit Kalitta Motorsports announced today.
Black, owner of the Pro Stock entries driven by two-time defending NHRA POWERade champion Greg Anderson and 2004 NHRA Rookie of the Year Jason Line, and drag racing icon Connie Kalitta, owner of and chief tuner for Kalitta Motorsports, announced last month that they have formed a partnership to run a fourth dragster campaigned out of Kalitta's Top Fuel stable next season. Kalitta Motorsports currently fields race cars for drivers Doug Kalitta, Scott Kalitta and "Aussie Dave" Grubnic.
Will, 25, currently drives the Girl Power Racing Top Alcohol dragster in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. She claimed her first NHRA national event victory at Las Vegas in April and recently collected her first Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series win at Mission (B.C.) Raceway. She began racing at age 17 and has competed in Super Street, Super Gas and Super Comp categories.
"There aren't enough words to describe how grateful I am that Mr. Black and Mr. Kalitta have given me this opportunity to fulfill my dreams," Will said. "I decided that I wanted to make drag racing my lifelong career. I left my job as a financial analyst and went for it. I was hoping that I would get a chance like this eventually, but to get it now and with a championship-caliber team is incredible.
"I spent the past weekend in Brainerd (Minn.) at the Team Kalitta pit area, and I can already tell that it's a place where I want to be. I like the atmosphere there. They are a successful, winning team and at the same time, everyone enjoys being there and enjoys being part of Team Kalitta."
Will, a graduate of Wheaton College (Mass.), clocked her career-best pass in July when she recorded a 5.302-second, 270.97-mph pass. Her 7,000 horsepower, nitromethane Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel ride can traverse the 1,320-foot drag strip in less than 4.5 seconds at over 330 mph. She recognizes that there will be a learning curve and adjustment period, but she also knows she has talented a pool of drivers and tuners in her corner.
"Everyone has made me feel very welcome," Will said. "Jim Oberhofer (team manager), Scott Kalitta, Doug Kalitta, Dave Grubnic, and Ben Marshall (marketing manager and test driver) have been more than willing to explain things and answer my questions about Top Fuel racing.
"I have a lot to learn in making the transition from Top Alcohol to Top Fuel, but I can't think of a better place to learn than Kalitta Motorsports. I've been driving Top Alcohol under the tutelage of Bucky Austin for more than a year now. I'm fortunate to have learned so much from him. I will be forever grateful for how he has helped me."
Black, who resides in Las Vegas, where he built a very successful construction business, is highly optimistic about Will's abilities both on and away from the racetrack.
"We had a long list of talented drivers to choose from," Black said. "I want to thank all of them for their interest in driving for our new team. We weighed all the options and decided that Hillary (Will) is the best fit for what we ultimately want to accomplish, and that's to win a Top Fuel championship.
"Not only has she proven herself to be a very skillful driver at many different levels, she has also shown us that her intelligence and charisma will be invaluable for our team as we move forward with our marketing goals.
"Shirley Muldowney (Zantrex-3 team and sponsor relations representative) was the best female driver this sport has ever seen. She was one of the best, regardless of gender, to ever sit in the driver's seat of a Top Fuel dragster. My hope is that Hillary's career will mirror Shirley's terrific accomplishments as a champion."
Will will continue to drive her Girl Power Racing Top Alcohol dragster for the remainder of the 2005 NHRA season at both POWERade and Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series events.
Kalitta Motorsports Team Manager Jim Oberhofer is happy to have found the right choice for the driver's seat, but now he wants to sustain the focus of his team on racing for event wins and the POWERade championship.
"We still have seven races left this year," Oberhofer said. "The most prestigious drag racing event in the world, The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, (Aug. 31-Sept. 5) is coming up very soon in Indianapolis. Both Ken (Black) and Connie (Kalitta) are concentrating their efforts now to ensure victories for our teams at Indy and to secure championships for both organizations and our sponsors with successful efforts at all of the remaining NHRA national events in 2005."
About Kalitta Motorsports
Based in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Kalitta Motorsports is the only full-time three-car Top Fuel drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) POWERade Drag Racing Series. The racing operation was started in 1959 by now legendary drag racer and team owner Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta. His son Scott Kalitta drives the Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster. Scott's cousin, Connie's nephew, Doug Kalitta drives the flagship dragster for Mac Tools. Native Australian David Grubnic drives the third dragster under the banner of Zantrex-3.
Connie serves as crew chief for all three Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Rahn Tobler (Mac Tools dragster), Jim Oberhofer (Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster), Jon Oberhofer (Zantrex-3 dragster) and consultant Larry Meyer.
Associate sponsors on all three race cars include Red Line Oil, Summit Racing Equipment, Technicoat Companies and Fischer Honda.