Scott Kalitta reflects upon first full NHRA year since 1997; Looks for Indy win to seal his comeback and define his legacy Indianapolis, Ind., Aug. 31, 2004 -- One year ago, two-time NHRA Top Fuel World Champion (1994 -- 1995) Scott Kalitta ...
Scott Kalitta reflects upon first full NHRA year since 1997; Looks for Indy win to seal his comeback and define his legacy
Indianapolis, Ind., Aug. 31, 2004 -- One year ago, two-time NHRA Top Fuel World Champion (1994 -- 1995) Scott Kalitta returned to professional drag racing after a five-year hiatus at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. With a complete year now under his belt, Scott is anxious to see what the future holds for him and his Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster team this season at the 50th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park, Sept. 1-6.
The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, the world's most prestigious drag racing event, is celebrating its golden anniversary in 2004.
"What a difference a year makes," Scott said. "We've had ups and downs just like everybody else, but the Mac Tools/Jesse James car really seems to be finding a good groove now. Finishing out last year, there was very little pressure on me because I'd been gone for so long, and expectations were not all that high. That has all changed this year. We feel the pressure to win and perform just like our teammates and every other team out there.
"My dad (team owner and crew chief Connie Kalitta) got his only win at Indy ten years ago against Eddie Hill in 1994. I've won a couple of championships and those are great, but I've never won Indy. It's the one event that every driver wants to win. It would be great to celebrate the tenth anniversary of dad's win by winning it this year and really solidify my return to drag racing."
Since his return to the Top Fuel ranks, Scott, 42, has posted 11 semi-final round appearances that have parlayed into four final rounds, two (Denver and Memphis) of which have been part of Kalitta Motorsports' incredible total of six consecutive finals in the six latest events, and one win (Denver, 2004), his first title since June 1997, in Topeka.
Scott has earned 16 (15 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car) NHRA event trophies in his 23-year career.
Scott's Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster runs out of the Kalitta Motorsports racing stable, the only full-time, three-car Top Fuel dragster team in the NHRA. His cousin Doug Kalitta carries the flagship colors for Mac Tools on his nitro rail for Team Kalitta. Their teammate and native Australian "Aussie Dave" Grubnic bears the brand FatMax® for Stanley on his specially painted race car for "The Big Go".
Team owner and drag racing legend Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta serves as crew chief for all three Team Kalitta entries. He is Scott's dad and Doug's uncle. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Rahn Tobler (Mac Tools dragster), Jim Oberhofer (Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster) and Jon Oberhofer (Stanley® FatMax® dragster).
The 50th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis is the 18th event of the $50 million, 23-event 2004 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Qualifying for Labor Day's 16-car final eliminations field begins with one session Friday for the professional classes. Two more qualifying sessions follow on Saturday with qualifying wrapping up Sunday in two final sessions.
Please visit www.kalittaracing.com for more information about Kalitta Motorsports.