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Career Sweep in Sights for Doug Kalitta

The number is one. One track remains. Epping, N.H., is the location of the sole remaining NHRA track on which Doug Kalitta has never won. The 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Season resumes May 31-June 2, 2024 at the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, N.H.

Kalitta enters the NHRA New England Nationals in third place in the Top Fuel point standings. Last season, he clicked off his long-awaited 50th win and later won his highly-anticipated first season championship. Now, with his first title defense well underway and a 2024 victory already under his belt, the Michigan Motorsports Hall of Famer looks to collect his first-career win at New England Dragway – the only Mission Foods Drag Racing Series track on which he’s never won.

“Yeah, it’s the only track where I haven’t won so it would be really nice to check that one off the list,” Kalitta said. “That would be a real tribute to all my guys who have been with me through the years – and that’s a pretty good list of great people. I’m pretty optimistic we have a good shot get to the final, get another crack at it and hopefully check that last box. It’s a beautiful area, and we’re hungry to go rounds so we’re looking forward to getting there to get started.”

Kalitta raced to a runner-up finish at the 2014 installment of the New England Nationals in his best showing to date. The No. 2 qualifier took out Terry McMillen, Khalid AlBalooshi and Richie Crampton before dropping a close final round to Tony Schumacher.

Regardless of the team’s on-track performance, New England Dragway is a Team Kalitta favorite for another very important event, Eddie’s Lobsterfest – a New Hampshire staple for Team Kalitta. After Scott Kalitta passed away in a 2008 racing accident in Englishtown, N.J., the team debuted this event in 2009 in memory of Scott naming it after one of his nicknames. When NHRA stopped racing at Englishtown, Eddie’s Lobsterfest moved to New England Dragway.

“We’re really fortunate with our friendship, through Mac Tools, and now he has his own business, with Joe Poulin, and his wife, Donna; they’re good friends from a heck of a family,” Kalitta added. “Over the years, Joe would always send us lobsters for wins. It was kind of a friendship thing we had going on. Then after Scott passed, we switched it to this Lobsterfest thing. Joe was always nice enough to come with his family to cook and have this gathering with all the team members who knew Scott.

“We have a nice tradition with this get together. It’s good food, it’s good company and it’s something Connie (Team Owner Connie Kalitta) definitely looks forward to. We get together and drink a Coors Light because that’s what Scott used to always drink. I’m not a big cigar person, but that’s the other thing. Scott used to smoke these Swisher Sweet cigars so that’s also part of it. Jon-O (DHL Funny Car Co-Crew Chief Jon Oberhofer) is typically the guy who gets up and says something about Scott – whatever comes to mind – so hopefully he’ll do that again this year. Everybody just enjoys the evening.”

This story was originally published on May 30, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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