Kalitta advances to quarterfinals
Phoenix, Sunday: Scott Kalitta, driver of the new Kalitta Air nitro Funny Car, qualified in the No. 16 spot in Sunday's 16-car final eliminations. He and his team lead by crew chief Johnny West and co-crew chief Larry Meyer were able to stun the big crowd at Firebird Int'l Raceway in the first round when they toppled the No. 1 qualifier Eric Medlen, 4.899 sec., 317.12 mph to 8.060 sec., 107.72 mph. Kalitta's charmed day ended in the next round against Phil Burkart Jr., 10.421 sec., 89.71 mph to 4.905 sec., 313.66 mph.
Until Sunday, the last round of eliminations won by Kalitta was round one versus Tom Hoover in Reading, Penn., in 1990.
Kalitta, a 43-year old resident of Palmetto, Fla., has spent most of his quarter-mile career behind the wheel of a Top Fuel dragster where he won 17 NHRA national events and two (1994-1995) world championships, but he garnered his first national event victory in a Funny Car in Houston in 1989, while hobbled with a broken foot to boot.
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