Indianapolis: Team Kalitta preview

Team Kalitta anxious to attack the track in Indianapolis with two dragsters Indianapolis, Ind., Aug. 27, 2003 -- It's that time again -- "Big Go" time. For drag racing fans around the world, this Labor Day weekend's Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in...

Team Kalitta anxious to attack the track in Indianapolis with two dragsters

Indianapolis, Ind., Aug. 27, 2003 -- It's that time again -- "Big Go" time. For drag racing fans around the world, this Labor Day weekend's Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Ind., is more than just the 17th race on the 23-event NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series' schedule. It is drag racing's equivalent of NASCAR's Daytona 500 or as important as the Super Bowl is in the hearts of American football players and fans. For the thousands of fans in the grandstands at Indianapolis Raceway Park Aug. 27 -- Sept. 1, it is an almost magical experience that they feel lucky to be part of. For the men and women of Kalitta Motorsports, it is the opportunity to make their marks on the legendary list of drivers and teams that have won the one race that matters most -- Indy.

For the first time this season, Doug Kalitta, driver of the bright red Mac Tools dragster currently second in NHRA championship points, will enter competition with a Kalitta Motorsports teammate. Joining the Team Kalitta stable for the remainder of the season will be his cousin, Scott Kalitta, driving the new black and red Mac Tools/Jesse James Top Fuel dragster entry.

"Our Mac Tools team has had a great season," Doug said. "Winning at Indy would make our season incredible. We still have the POWERade Top Fuel championship as our goal for 2003, even though we are several rounds behind Larry (Dixon, points leader). If we fall short of winning the championship but win at Indy, it will certainly ease the pain. Connie (Kalitta, crew chief and Doug's uncle) won here in 1994 when he was 56 years old. I just turned 39. I don't want to wait as long as he did to get my first win at Indy. It will be cool to see Scott driving again too."

After knocking the dust off of his racing helmet and driving gloves from being absent from Top Fuel competition for over three years, Scott prepared for his NHRA debut this season with a semi-final round appearance in the 16-car eliminations field at last weekend's IHRA event in Norwalk, Ohio. The former two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion (1994 and 1995) is excited about returning as a full-time driver for Kalitta Motorsports, founded by his father and drag racing legend, Connie "Bounty Hunter" Kalitta, in the world's most exciting form of motor racing.

It's awesome to be back," Scott said. "It will be great to be racing again and being with my family. My dad and I have not always seen eye-to-eye on some things, but we have both mellowed somewhat in the past few years, so it will be fun."

"The excitement that has already been swirling around our new team has been tremendous. Having Jesse James (founder and owner of West Coast Choppers and host of the Discovery Channel's Monster Garage) on board with us is going to bring a new level of exposure to our team and our sport. The support we are getting from Mac Tools made this all possible. I want to thank them and everyone involved with Kalitta Motorsports by winning some races before the season is done. That's the best "thank you" I know."

Top Fuel qualifying for the 49th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals is scheduled to begin Friday at 7:30 p.m. with the first of five qualifying sessions.

-km-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , Jesse James