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Remembering NHRA driver Scott Kalitta

June 11, 2009 | 10:19 am

060-AntronBrown-Joliet 

Jack Beckman, a National Hot Rod Assn. driver from North Hills, was waiting his turn to qualify at Old Bridge Township Raceway in New Jersey last year when Scott Kalitta was killed in an accident on the track. Qualifying was suspended after the fatal crash, and Beckman didn't get a chance to make the field. But that was the least of his concerns that day.

The NHRA returns to Englishtown, N.J., this weekend, and Kalitta's death still weighs heavy on every driver's mind.

The NHRA took drastic steps to try to prevent another tragic accident such as the one that claimed Kalitta's life. One of those steps was to reduce the race distance from the traditional quarter-mile to 1,000 feet.

A year after Kalitta's death, the debate continues over whether to return to a quarter-mile or keep the 1,000 feet distance.

Go to www.haddockinthepaddock.com for driver comments and previews of the NHRA races at Englishtown.

-- Tim Haddock

Photo: NHRA top fuel driver Antron Brown took over the lead in the top fuel standings over Tony Schumacer with a runner-up finish at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois on Sunday.

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