NHRA driver Kalitta dies in crash

ENGLISHTOWN, NEW JERSEY (TICKER)—Scott Kalitta, one of NHRA’s top drivers, was killed in fiery crash Saturday. He was 46.

Kalitta was killed when his Funny Car crashed and burst into flames during qualifying for the LUCAS Oil NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

A two-time Fuel champion who had 18 victories, Kalitta’s car was traveling at around 300 miles per hour when the engine of his Toyota Solara exploded into flames. The car hit a sand trap, then vaulted over a protective fence.

The NHRA released a statement on his passing.

“On behalf of everyone at NHRA, we are deeply saddened and want to pass along our sincere condolences to the entire Kalitta family,” the statement read. “Scott shared the same passion for drag racing as his legendary father, Connie. He also shared the same desire to win, becoming a two-time series world champion. He left the sport for a period of time, to devote more time to his family, only to be driven to return to the drag strip to regain his championship form.

“Scott was a terrific driver and perhaps more importantly a better person and a great father to his two kids. He will be truly missed by the entire NHRA community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Kathy, sons Corey and Colin, his cousin Doug and his father Connie.”

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Updated Saturday, Jun 21, 2008