Archive for Scott Kalitta

NHRA: Kalitta’s legacy can be measured by 1,000

Posted in Column, NHRA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2009 by Martin Henderson

Has it been a year already?

It seems like yesterday that we were burying Scott Kalitta, acquiescing to the reality of auto racing. It’s a sport that is never completely safe, but shouldn’t be unnecessarily fatal. As followers of the sport, we agree to invest our feelings toward heroes that may not return to the trailer after the next round of competition.

Kalitta’s was the third NHRA professional fatality in five years when a series of events conspired to steal Connie Kalitta’s son from our presence. Top-fuel driver Darrell Russell (2004) and funny car driver Eric Medlen (2007) preceded Kalitta in death, tragically.

Kalitta’s was among the horrific crashes of the ages, a flaming fireball crashing into the end of the shutdown area at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., site of today’s United Association NHRA SuperNationals.

Doug Herbert likes to believe that “God takes over” in moments like those, grabbing the soul before any pain is felt. It’s a comforting thought, and I’m all for adopting it.

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NHRA: It’s a golden moment for Connie Kalitta

Posted in Column, NHRA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2009 by Martin Henderson

One couldn’t help but pull for Doug Kalitta on Tuesday afternoon in the finals of the 49th Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals for one reason: Pulling for Doug Kalitta meant pulling for Connie Kalitta.

The man known as “The Bounty Hunter” in his racing days is celebrating his 50th year in drag racing, but nobody could have faulted him if he had stopped at 49.

He will be 71 on Feb. 24, and has given the bulk of his life to drag racing. Last year he gave his son, Scott, a two-time champion who was killed instantly in a qualifying crash at Englishtown, N.J.

Kalitta Motorsports was at the next event a week later, so maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that it cobbled together its resources to open the Full Throttle Drag Racing season at the series’ second-most prestigious race.

Conrad “Connie” Kalitta is a drag racer, and will be for as long as his heart continues to beat. It’s what he knows, it’s what he is.
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NHRA: Herbert’s ‘championship’ season complete

Posted in Column, NHRA with tags , , , , , on November 20, 2008 by Martin Henderson

Doug Herbert said all the mandatory things after his two young sons were killed in an automobile accident a few days before the start of the 2008 NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series season.

He christened this the “For My Boys” tour and promised the media at the Winternationals in Pomona he would win the championship.

It was a pipe dream, of course.

But 24 races later, at the Auto Club Finals in Pomona, he made good on that promise.

No, Herbert didn’t take a trophy back to Charlotte, N.C. No, he wasn’t recognized in the NHRA Record Book. No, he won’t receive all the spoils that Tony Schumacher earned in the most remarkably dominant season in drag racing history.

But sometimes, championships are won by finishing the race. By digging deep against long odds. By powering forward when you want to give up. By keeping things together in your head, your family, your business, when it seems your world is falling apart.
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NHRA: Pedregon’s bold talk sounds convincing

Posted in Column, NHRA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2008 by Martin Henderson

The comment might have seemed brash, maybe even conceited, certainly bold in a world in which John Force still exists. But Tony Pedregon said it before the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio  five events ago.

“The road to the championship,” he said, “still goes through the Pedregons.”

Believe him.
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