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Published: Wednesday, 8/20/2003

Legendary drag-racing Kalittas at Norwalk

BY C.J. LANDRY
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

When the largest Top Fuel field in International Hot Rod Association history comes to the Sunoco World Nationals at Norwalk Raceway Park tomorrow through Sunday, Scott Kalitta and the Kalitta family will be part of the show.

Kalitta, the 1994 and 1995 National Hot Rod Association's Top Fuel world champion, dominated the field like few ever have, scoring back-to-back championships and 11 event wins, four of them consecutive.

Out of the driver's seat since 1999, Kalitta has eagerly awaited his chance to get back into the sport that made him and his father Connie Kalitta legends.

Scott will make his return in a new dragster sponsored by Mac Tools and Jesse James, the host of the popular Monster Garage television show on the Discovery Channel. Scott joins his cousin Doug in the two-car team, with Connie serving as crew chief, assisted by Jim Oberhofer.

“The Kalittas are one of the nation's top drag-racing families,'' said Norwalk Raceway president Bill Bader Jr. “We are honored to have them in our field and at our track.

“Scott's appearance will bring a new competitive spirit to the field that includes IHRA Top Fuel World Champion Clay Millican. With the first ever 16-car field in IHRA history, I expect the Top Fuel Ironman will be won after a serious dogfight,” Bader said.

“It's fantastic to see more and more NHRA Top Fuel teams come over and compete in the Hooters Drag Racing Series,'' said IHRA director of communications Jim Marchyshyn.

In addition to a 16-car Top Fuel field, fans at the 26th annual World Nationals will experience supercharged vs. nitrous Pro Modifieds, Funny Cars and the world's fastest Sunoco Race Fuels “Mountain Motor'' Pro Stocks.

Pro Stock is the IHRA version of NASCAR, with Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge and Pontiac competing for bragging rights at 210 mph. Champions will also be crowned in eight sportsman classes.

The schedule for the nationals finds the sportsman classes qualifying at 8:15 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. tomorrow. Friday qualifying continues with sportsman at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., and the pro classes at 12:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Saturday the sportsman classes begin elimination rounds at 8 a.m., followed by the second round of pro qualifying at 2 p.m. Beginning at 8 p.m. is the Advanced Auto Parts “Night of Fire'' featuring the final round of pro qualifying.

Also running under the lights will be Bob Motz's legendary Jet Kenworth, Al Hanna's Top Secret Jet Funny Car, Ken Nelson's Cool Bus wheel stander, Jon Oswell's Ladder Truck 33 wheel stander and a giant fireworks display.

Sunday the sportsman elimination rounds continue at 8:30 a.m., followed by pro eliminations at 11 a.m. The final rounds get under way at 1 p.m.

For more information call Norwalk Raceway Park at 419-668-5555.

wWith just two points races remaining, the hunt for track titles is heating up. On Saturday at Flat Rock and Sunday at Toledo Speedway, all servicemen and servicewomen will be admitted free with military ID, and all fans that have no hair on top will also get in free.

At Flat Rock the ARCA Late Models, Figure 8's and Street Stocks will provide the action. Time trials are set for 5 p.m., and racing begins at 7.

wAt Toledo Speedway on Sunday, Slick (the track mascot) will take on Toledo-area mascots in a foot race. The Late Models, Sportsman and the Figure 8 season-championship event will hit the track, as well as the PKA Go-Karts.



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