Connie Kalitta

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Top Fuel Dragster
Connie Kalitta vs. Dan Pastorini

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]

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.[citation needed]

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.[2]

Kalitta was runner-up at the 1963 Winternationals in Top Gas and at the 1965 Springnationals in Top Fuel.[3] One week after winning the American Hot Rod Association (AHRA) Winternationals in Scottsdale, Arizona. he took his first National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) national title in Top Fuel, in a 427ci "cammer"–powered dragster.[4]

At the 1967 Winternationals, Kalitta qualified in the middle of the field, then turned in a 7.28 second e.t., the best time of the first round, to beat Chuck Griffith.[5] His e.t.s improved to 7.24, for a victory over Mike Snively, and 7,22 to eliminate John Mulligan. He slipped to 7.23 after teammate Pete Robinson left the starting line quicker, but had handling trouble that compelled him to quit. In the final, the Chevrolet of Gene Goleman recorded a 7.46, against Kalitta’s still quicker 7.17 seconds at 218.43 mph (351.53 km/h).[6]

Kalitta ultimately won nine more NHRA national titles by 1994. He won the U.S. Nationals in 1994. defeating Eddie Hill in the final round.

Kalitta was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1992. On the 2001 National Hot Rod Association Top 50 Drivers, 1951-2000, Kalitta was ranked #21.[7] He was played by Beau Bridges in the Muldowney biography film Heart Like a Wheel.

He is the father of racer Scott Kalitta, killed in a crash in Old Bridge Township, N.J.[8][9] in 2008, and uncle of racer Doug Kalitta.

On November 14, 2016 Kalitta was honored at the season-ending Mello Yello Awards Ceremony with NHRA's Lifetime Achievement Award. This is the first time in NHRA history that this award has been given.[10]


  1. ^ Kalitta Motorsports - About Connie Kalitta, Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  2. ^ McClurg, Bob. "50 Years of Funny Cars: Part 2" in Drag Racer, November 2016, p. 46 caption.
  3. ^ 23 May 2017)
  4. ^ 23 May 2017)
  5. ^ 23 May 2017)
  6. ^ 23 May 2017)
  7. ^ NHRA top 50 drivers - tribute to Kalitta Archived 2005-09-26 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "NHRA driver Kalitta killed in horrific crash" Associated Press June 22, 2008. Accessed on July 7, 2009
  9. ^ "OLD BRIDGE TOWNSHIP COUNCIL COMBINED MEETING, November 10, 2003" Archived July 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine."BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Old Bridge, County of Middlesex, State of New Jersey, that: WHEREAS, the license for Old Bridge Raceway Park, Inc. is hereby renewed for the year 2004 subject to the following:"
  10. ^ "NHRA Story » Kalitta honored with first NHRA Lifetime Achievement Award". Retrieved 2016-11-17.