Connie Kalitta

Conrad "Connie" Kalitta (born February 24, 1938) is an American businessman and former drag racing driver, nicknamed "The Bounty Hunter". Kalitta is the CEO of Kalitta Air and the owner of Kalitta Motorsports.[1]

Connie Kalitta
Born
Conrad Kalitta

February 24, 1938
Michigan
OccupationAuto Racer
Airline Owner
Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel Dragster (2007)
Connie Kalitta vs. Dan Pastorini (1987)

Kalitta was born in Michigan, grew up in Mount Clemens, and was a 1957 graduate of Mount Clemens High School.

He raced from the 1950s through the 1990s. He was the first driver to hit 200 mph in an NHRA sanctioned event.[2]

Kalitta teamed up with Shirley Muldowney as the Bounty Hunter and Bounty Huntress, in a pair of Ford Mustangs, hers a Buttera chassis, his a Logghe.[3]

Kalitta was runner-up at the 1963 Winternationals in Top Gas and at the 1965 Springnationals in Top Fuel.[4] His first major event win was the 1967 American Hot Rod Association (AHRA) Winternationals in Scottsdale, Arizona, in a 427ci "cammer"–powered Top Fuel dragster.[4] Though Kalitta had qualified in the middle of the field, he turned in steadily lower elapsed times (e.t.) throughout each round: a 7.28 second e.t. in the first round, then a 7.24, a 7.22, a slight increase to 7.23 to reach the final, where he ran 7.17 seconds at 218.43 mph (351.53 km/h) to win the event.[4]

Kalitta ultimately won a total of 10 NHRA national events, including the 1994 Gatornationals and U.S. Nationals - his final title.

Kalitta was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1992.[5] On the 50th Anniversary list of National Hot Rod Association Top 50 Drivers, 1951-2000, Kalitta was ranked #21.[6]

Kalitta was played by Beau Bridges, in a lead role, in the Muldowney biography film Heart Like a Wheel (1983).

He is the father of racer Scott Kalitta, killed in a drag racing crash in Old Bridge Township, New Jersey, in 2008.[7] He is the uncle of racer Doug Kalitta.

On November 14, 2016, Kalitta was honored at the season-ending Mello Yello Awards Ceremony with NHRA's first ever Lifetime Achievement Award.[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Kalitta Motorsports - About Connie Kalitta, Retrieved 2016-05-07
  2. ^ a b "NHRA Story » Kalitta honored with first NHRA Lifetime Achievement Award". www.nhra.com. Retrieved 2016-11-17.
  3. ^ McClurg, Bob. "50 Years of Funny Cars: Part 2" in Drag Racer, November 2016, p. 46 caption.
  4. ^ a b c Benson, Candida (2017-01-30). "High-Profile First Wins at the Winternationals". National Hot Rod Association. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  5. ^ Connie Kalitta at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
  6. ^ NHRA top 50 drivers - tribute to Kalitta Archived 2005-09-26 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "State Police Fatal Accident Unit Releases Findings on Drag Strip Crash that Claimed Life of Scott Kalitta". New Jersey State Police. 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2019-06-27.