Topeka Scott Kallita story (Top Fuel)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761 NEW TUNEUP COULD MAKE SCOTT KALITTA EVEN TOUGHER AT TOPEKA TOPEKA, Kan. -- There's a good chance that Scott Kalitta could be an even bigger threat for victory than usual...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761 NEW TUNEUP COULD MAKE SCOTT KALITTA EVEN TOUGHER AT TOPEKA

TOPEKA, Kan. -- There's a good chance that Scott Kalitta could be an even bigger threat for victory than usual at the Sears Craftsman Nationals. Uh-oh. That's bad news for the rest of the Top Fuel field. No driver has dominated Top Fuel racing recently at Heartland Park Topeka like two-time NHRA Winston champion Kalitta. He has won six of his last nine starts at Heartland Park, with four consecutive victories from 1994-97 in the spring race, the Western Auto Parts America Nationals, and victories in 1993 and 1995 at the fall event, the Sears Craftsman Nationals. Kalitta and the American International Airways Dragster team have entered the test mode, as they realize there is no chance to catch leader Gary Scelzi with just five races left in the season. Kalitta is fourth in the NHRA Winston standings, 342 points behind Scelzi. "If we get lucky and some of the stuff we try happens to pan out, yeah, it could be good," Kalitta said. "But there are three or four guys that are already where we want to be." Kalitta, from Chelsea, Mich., will try to pull off the season sweep at Heartland Park at the ninth annual, $1,463,750 Sears Craftsman Nationals, Sept. 25-28. The race is the 18th event of the 22-event, $30- million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series in 1997. There's good reason to believe that the engine cylinder-head changes implemented earlier this month by crew chief Ed "The Ace" McCulloch are working. Kalitta qualified No. 1 at the Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals two weeks ago at Reading, Pa., and narrowly lost to Kenny Bernstein in the semifinals. "We're just trying to get a handle on the pieces there," Kalitta said. "The pieces there will work, but we just haven't been in a position to catch up due to mechanical failures and what not."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kenny Bernstein , Gary Scelzi , Scott Kalitta