Denver: Scott Kalitta preview

Scott Kalitta eyeing return to winning ways as NHRA heads to Denver Denver, Col., July 14, 2004 -- Scott Kalitta, driver of the radically painted, Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta-tuned Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster, is hoping his ...

Scott Kalitta eyeing return to winning ways as NHRA heads to Denver

Denver, Col., July 14, 2004 -- Scott Kalitta, driver of the radically painted, Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta-tuned Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster, is hoping his recent string of good showings will help build momentum for his first NHRA victory of 2004 at the upcoming event in Denver, Col. Scott won in Denver in his consecutive championship campaigns of 1994 and 1995. He is currently eighth in championship points.

His teammate and cousin Doug Kalitta, driver of the flagship Mac Tools Top Fuel hot rod, is leading the class in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series points.

This weekend the series heads for the mountains to Denver's scenic Bandimere Speedway for the 25th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, July 16-18, to begin the first of three consecutive events in the NHRA's legendary, if not infamous, Western Swing. Events in Seattle, Wash., and Sonoma, Calif., will be contested in the next two weeks respectively.

Scott, a 42-year-old two-time NHRA Top Fuel Champion (1994-1995), returned to racing at last year's Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis after a five-year hiatus to rejoin his father Connie's Kalitta Motorsports team, which is the only full-time, three Top Fuel dragster effort ("Aussie Dave" Grubnic is Scott's other teammate in the Kalitta Air dragster) on the NHRA tour.

"We're definitely on the right track" Scott said. "We're seeing some consistency from the car now that we didn't necessarily see in the beginning of the season. The new rule changes may throw us a curve at first, but I'm sure we'll get a handle on it again very quickly (In response to the death of Top Fuel racer Darrell Russell during a racing accident at the previous event in St. Louis, the NHRA has made several rule changes involving safety including a new rear tire and less potent fuel mixture).

"In the last six races, we've won nine rounds, which is not too bad. We've lost to Doug three times in that span too. He's our teammate, and if we can't make a run for the championship, we'll do whatever ever we can to get him there.

"Denver is a tricky place to race because of the altitude, but my dad has been doing this a long time, so I'm sure we'll get a set-up that works."

Scott has 15 career NHRA victories (14 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car). He has made 31 final round appearances in his 23-year career.

Scott's 7000+ horsepower machine is helmed by co-crew chief Jim Oberhofer, brother of the Kalitta Air dragster's co-crew chief Jon Oberhofer.

The Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals will be the 13th of 23 national events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Qualifying for Sunday's 16-car Top Fuel final eliminations field begins with two sessions Friday for the professional classes and two more again Saturday.

Please visit www.kalittaracing.com for more information about Kalitta Motorsports.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , Scott Kalitta , Jim Oberhofer , Jesse James