Thursday, June 21, 2018

Scott Kalitta Dies In Crash At NHRA SuperNationals - June 21, 2008

February 18, 1962 - June 21, 2008
Scott Kalitta
Born in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, USA.
He was the son of veteran NHRA driver and crew chief Connie Kalitta, and cousin of teammate Doug Kalitta. Scott competed in the Funny Car and Top Fuel classes in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. He had 17 career Top Fuel wins and 1 career Funny Car win, and at his death he was one of fourteen drivers to win in both divisions.

On June 21, 2008, Kalitta was fatally injured during the final round of qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. Kalitta's Funny Car was traveling at about 300 mph when the engine exploded in flames near the finish line. The parachutes were damaged and failed to slow the vehicle.
According to the New Jersey State Police official news release evidence discovered in Kalitta’s lane revealed that he had applied mechanical braking and maintained steering control of the vehicle throughout the 2235-foot-long “shutdown” portion of the racetrack. Post-crash examination of the vehicle further revealed the clutch system to be locked, maintaining engine power to the rear wheels. Witnesses and audio recordings reveal the vehicle’s engine was firing throughout the shutdown portion of the racetrack, which further reinforced the fact that the vehicle’s engine was still providing power for some period of time. Kalitta's vehicle reached the end of the paved race track and went through a sand trap at around 125 mph. The vehicle went over the concrete retaining wall. The vehicle continued forward and impacted a piece of heavy equipment, which was positioned outside the “run-off” area by the ESPN television crew.

This impact caused catastrophic damage to the vehicle and additional separation of chassis components and the vehicle’s engine. The largest portion of the race vehicle came to rest in a grassy area 250' south of the shutdown area. Scott Kalitta was contained in this portion of the race vehicle and had sustained fatal blunt force injuries. A review of information provided by Delphi, which was recorded by accelerometers, mounted to the Kalitta vehicle revealed multiple impacts producing over 100G, with some approaching or exceeding 200G. He was transported to the Old Bridge Division of Raritan Bay Medical Center and was pronounced dead on arrival.

He made his home in Snead Island, Florida, with wife, Kathy and two sons, Colin and Corey.
Connie Kalitta celebrates with his grandsons Colin and Corey

For more: "Remembering" Scott Kalitta

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