A Drag Racing Tragedy - Scott Kalitta Dies In NHRA Crash (Sydney, NSW) The administration and staff of Western Sydney International Dragway wish to extend their deepest sympathies to the entire Kalitta family after NHRA Funny Car driver and...
A Drag Racing Tragedy - Scott Kalitta Dies In NHRA Crash
(Sydney, NSW) The administration and staff of Western Sydney International Dragway wish to extend their deepest sympathies to the entire Kalitta family after NHRA Funny Car driver and former NHRA Top Fuel Champion - Scott Kalitta - fatally succumbed to injuries sustained during the Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals at Englishtown, New Jersey (USA) early this morning, Australian time.
Press reports indicate that Kalitta crossed the finish stripe at well over 500km/h during the final qualifying session, before there was a huge engine explosion as he neared the finish line. The explosion shredded the rear of the body, sending pieces high in the air. The car continued through the shutdown area at high speed, into the sand and through the net, still at high speed, with another large fireball produced at that time.
This news hits the Australian Drag Racing fraternity very hard, as Scott Kallita had been a repeat visitor to our shores, racing a Top Fuel Dragster at Western Sydney International Dragway during the 2006 & 2007 USA Boxing Day Top Fuel Invasion events, winning on both occasions.
His qualifying tilt of 4.517 seconds, at over 332.82 miles per hour in 2007 at WSID, stands as both the quickest and fastest one-off runs in Australian Drag Racing history, with the Speed mark still standing as the National Speed Record in ANDRA Championship Drag Racing.
Kalitta's official National Record mark of 4.567 at the same event in 2007 in Sydney, was only just bettered by Phil Read at the last event of the Championship a fortnight ago, during the Castrol Edge Winternationals.
Speaking of team Read, Western Sydney International Dragway board Chairman Jim Read, spoke emotively of Scott Kalitta and his accomplishments.
"The news of Scott's passing has shaken me up as much as any tragedy has," remarked Read in a very emotive tone. "Scott like his father Connie and his cousin Doug, is passionate about Drag Racing. As everyone knows, we had Scott and a lot of the Kalitta team here in Sydney and we got to know Scott's wife and kids. having them at our home for Christmas dinner and so on. I really struggle to find the words to say how devastated I feel about this news."
Like so many Drag Racing teams, the Kalitta team is all about family efforts and it's these aspects that stick in Jim Read's mind at this time.
"His young boy Corey (14) was already living the Drag Racing dream with his dad, grinding clutch plates and just being part of it all. it's the effect on the family which really saddens me greatly."
The loss of Scott Kalitta will have a heavy impact in Australian Top Fuel ranks, as the knowledge sharing with both the Jim Read Racing and Santo Rapisarda teams was valuable and significant and the friendships which result from these relationships.
"I know some people question knowledge sharing but the spectacle in ANDRA Top Fuel these days with 4.5 second passes is in no small part to data gathering and learning from all that and the generosity of the Kalitta Motorsports fraternity has been a real positive influence on a few teams here - including ours," remarked Bruce Read the Crew Chief for current Australian Top Fuel Champion - brother Phil Read.
"What is more tragic, is we have befriended the Kalitta family and the team as a whole. I have already spoken to several members of the team and you can imagine how they feel right now and its one of the dark and cloudy days we suffer as human beings, where no words can adequately cover the pain and anguish that must exist for the entire Kalitta team and family. Our thoughts are all with them at this terrible time."
In this authors' own mind, images of what Scott Kalitta was all about come rapid and vivid.
When he came out for the first Boxing Day event in Sydney, he had a genuine smile on his face about racing for racing's sake, he is forever the passionate Drag Racer.
"What I am loving about racing in Australia is we are concentrating on gettin' down that quarter mile here. Many people know I am not the biggest fan of all the media stuff, entertaining sponsors and all that. I know we have to do that (sponsors and media) but for me, it is all about racing these cars. That's what I love to do and down here we just want to race hard and put on a good show for the Australian fans here. and that suits me just fine. Racing in Australia is about pure Drag Racing, which sometimes we can lose back home."
May we never forget that Scott Kalitta Drag Racing passion!