Columbus Scott Katilla interview (Top Fuel)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 SCOTT KALITTA BACK IN WINNING TOP FUEL FORM HEADING INTO COLUMBUS HEBRON, Ohio -- There's a good reason why Scott Kalitta and his team are once again a threat to win...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761

SCOTT KALITTA BACK IN WINNING TOP FUEL FORM HEADING INTO COLUMBUS

HEBRON, Ohio -- There's a good reason why Scott Kalitta and his team are once again a threat to win the Top Fuel title at any NHRA national event: They're lean and mean. Kalitta, from Chelsea, Mich., ended a drought of 11 months by winning the Western Auto Parts America Nationals presented by Slick 50 earlier this month at Topeka, Kan. It was his first victory since winning the same event last July. "It's starting to become fun again," Kalitta said. "When you get into a slump, it's not fun anymore. We're starting over." Kalitta's victory was the culmination of many recent changes for the American International Airways team, moves that have made Kalitta a contender for victory at the 33rd annual, $1,452,450 Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing, June 12-15 at National Trail Raceway. The race is the 10th event of the 22-event, $30-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series in 1997. The first change came during the offseason. Two-time NHRA Winston champion Kalitta lost 30 pounds, allowing him to race within 10 pounds of the minimum car-and-driver weight of 2,100 pounds for Top Fuel, a definite performance edge. A big change came in late April when the team slimmed from two cars to one. Kalitta's father, driver and team owner Connie Kalitta, decided to take a leave of absence to concentrate on his air cargo business. Scott's crew chief, Dick LaHaie, left the team. Scott moved to his father's car, tuned by Ed "The Ace" McCulloch. The new combination clicked almost immediately. Kalitta has won at least one round at the last four races and has climbed from ninth to fourth in the NHRA Winston point standings. "One car is easier than two," Kalitta said. "We're climbing back up."

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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Series NHRA
Drivers Scott Kalitta , Dick LaHaie , Connie Kalitta