I have been a long time NASCAR and NHRA fan, enjoying the competition and speed of the cars. Every so often we are reminded that the drivers are still human. Even with all of the safety built into the cars, the rollcages and advancements in safety, there are still accidents.
NHRA driver Scott Kallita was killed yesterday in a fiery crash during NHRA qualifying in New Jersey. Kallita was in a qualifying run for the Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals in New Jersey.
Scott Kalitta was racing side-by-side against Tony Bartrone in the final round of qualifying. Bartrone’s parachute deployed after crossing the quarter-mile line in 6.06 seconds, but Kalitta’s failed to open after his car exploded in a fireball. Kalittas chute failed to open and crashed into the guard rail at the end of the track at an estimated 300 m.p.h. causing multiple injuries that resulted in his death.
Kalitta, 46, was the son of 70-year-old drag racing legend Connie (The Bounty Hunter) Kalitta, a former driver and current owner of Kalitta Motorsports, based in Ypsilanti. Connie Kalitta’s nephew, Doug Kalitta, 43, of Ann Arbor, drives for the team in Top Fuel, as do Dave Grubnic and 27-year-old Hillary Will.
Scott Kalitta, the 1994 and 1995 Top Fuel series champion, had 18 career victories — 17 in Top Fuel and one in Funny Car. Kalitta had most of his racing success in Top Fuel, highlighted by his series titles in 1994 and 1995. He retired from racing in 1997, sitting out most of two seasons before returning for a 10-race campaign in 1999. He sat out three more seasons following that brief stint and then returned again in 2003, joining cousin Doug as a second driver for the family’s two Top Fuel dragsters.
Scott Kalitta is survived by his wife Kathy and sons Corey, 14, and Colin, 8.
There is also a YouTube video of the crash that is rather graphic of the collision that occurred at the track. I will not show it and there is also a warning from ESPN on the video.
The Scott Kallita crash video has been removed from YouTube due to copyright infringement requests by ESPN.