Scott Kalitta looks to rebound at Phoenix NHRA event Chandler, Ariz., (Feb. 22, 2006) - At the NHRA season-opening Winternationals two weeks ago in Pomona, Calif., 25-year drag racing veteran Scott Kalitta and his new Kalitta Air nitro Funny Car...
Scott Kalitta looks to rebound at Phoenix NHRA event
Chandler, Ariz., (Feb. 22, 2006) - At the NHRA season-opening Winternationals two weeks ago in Pomona, Calif., 25-year drag racing veteran Scott Kalitta and his new Kalitta Air nitro Funny Car race team got a rude awakening in the ranks of Funny Car racing in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. His consecutive professional qualifying streak was snapped at 55 when the new team failed to make the event's 16-car final eliminations field, which just happened to be the quickest field in NHRA history.
Kalitta, who celebrated his 44th birthday on Feb. 19, entered the 2006 season at the controls of a 7,000 horsepower, nitro-fueled Funny Car. He has spent most of his quarter-mile career behind the wheel of a Top Fuel dragster, where he won 17 NHRA national events and two (1994-1995) world championships, but he garnered his first national event victory in a Funny Car in Houston in 1989, while hobbled with a broken foot to boot.
This weekend, Feb. 24-26, at the Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals at Firebird Int'l Raceway in Chandler, Ariz., just outside of the Phoenix city limits, Kalitta and his flopper team are hoping to start a new streak by first qualifying and then hopefully going rounds in Sunday's final eliminations.
"This Funny Car deal is tough," Kalitta, a resident of Palmetto, Fla., said. "We knew it was going to be. I've always loved a good challenge and this certainly fits the bill.
"Unfortunately, we had some technical problems with the car in [pre-season] testing and we just got behind on getting a good tune-up in the car. We went into Pomona with really no baseline to start from and it cost us, but we learned a lot about what to do and some things we shouldn't do. We're confident now we can get on track in Phoenix and get qualified and then possibly win some rounds."
Kalitta's father, team owner and drag racing legend Conrad "Connie" Kalitta will celebrate his 68th birthday this Fri., Feb. 24.