It’s true what they say: friendships can really shape your future. Luke Fath became friends with Corey and Colin Kalitta before he even hit double digits, and as one would expect of the children of one of drag racing’s most treasured lost racers, Scott Kalitta’s boys eventually wanted to take their friend to the dragstrip.
Fath’s first trip to the pits of NHRA legend Connie Kalitta was when he was just approaching the teen years. Once he got a taste of that thunderous nitro, though, there was no turning back.
[Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in DI #172, the 30 Under 30 Issue, in November of 2021.]
“I vividly remember that first race,” he recalls. “Cars were running when we first arrived, and I could hear them from the parking lot. I remember thinking, ‘what the heck is that?’”
For the next handful of years, Fath would venture to Michigan in the summer and attend the drag races with Corey and Colin. Between Chicago and Norwalk one summer, Fath, then just 19, was offered a position in Kalitta Motorsports hospitality. Two weeks later, he began the move to Michigan.
After nearly two years in hospitality, Fath began taking on small marketing tasks, such as contributing to sponsor packets or assisting on the social media side of things for one of the most notable and decorated groups in NHRA history. Soon, he was moved over to the marketing team in a full-time role.
Day to day, Fath manages branding on the Kalitta Motorsports entries, from paint schemes and crew shirt designs to sponsor placement on the race cars. He has a hand in sponsor communications and on-site activations, as well as social media.
The role recently allowed one of the most memorable moments of his still-young career.
“This year at Indy, we got to surprise Connie with his 1964 Bounty Hunter dragster recreation,” details Fath, now 26. “Chad [Head, Kalitta Motorsports General Manager] gave me the directive to take that project and run with it, make it happen, and somehow keep it a secret. It was everything from the car design to t-shirts and planning the surprise for Connie. Having him turn around and see the car in Indy on Friday was the proudest moment I’ve had there.”
Kalitta was initially speechless at the reveal, then smiled and began telling the gathered group how the original car was the first to break 200 mph during qualifying at Indianapolis in 1964. “The smile on his face said it all,” says Fath. “It was pretty neat.”
As for what’s on the horizon, Fath says he’s right where he wants to be.
“This is such a family. I can’t see working anywhere else,” Fath asserts. “I want to see this team into the future and be part of what’s to come.”