~ Byron's Gasser Madness! ~

~ Rest in Peace ~

~ Scott Kalitta ~

As I'm sure you all know by now, Scott Kalitta, son of Drag Racing legend Connie Kalitta, and a formidable champion in his own right,  was killed in a horrendous top-end crash at Englishtown following an engine explosion and fire during Funny Car qualifying at the Lucas Oil Supernationals on June 21, 2008.

Below is one of the finest tributes to Scott that I've seen, written by someone who was his friend, Todd Myers.

Courtesy of Phil Burgess and Todd Myers.  First published on the Kalitta Racing Blog at NHRA.com

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I miss you, Scotty

One of the last conversations I had with Scotty was about our blog. With that undeniable grin of his on his face, he walked up to me in Englishtown and said, ďSo, Toddly, whatís up with the blog? Didnít you make out a schedule at the beginning of season?Ē I said yes and reminded him that he had dodged his blogging responsibilities as well because his name is on the schedule. He just continued to grin and told me he would write something soon.
Iíve been thinking about this entry for a couple of days and still donít know exactly what to type. I try very hard not to make these blogs about me, but right now I am being a tad selfish, and Iím not sure how this is going to come across because Iím still very raw with emotions, and I miss my friend more and more as each minute passes. I may ramble around in this and not write like I need to, but please excuse me if I do. My good friend, Phil Burgess, asked me yesterday when I was going to write a blog and even gave me some suggestions, but I think Iím just gonna shoot from the hip here because I know Scotty would appreciate that.
Scotty was a giant to me. We teased him and called him ďstumpyĒ sometimes because of his stature, but always in my mind he was Superman Ö and he still is. He was one of the most genuine people I have ever met. He told you how he felt no matter the consequences. He knew what he said may not be pleasant sometimes for you to hear, but he said it anyway and meant every word. I admired that most about him. My good friend, Bob Wilber, once offered me this simple line of advice Ė Say what you mean and mean what you say. I always think of Scotty when I remind myself of Bobís words. Bob and I were talking about a Rush concert when Scotty made his last lap. I remember every second of it. We were standing side-by-side in the press room in E-town watching the run after we finished our chat about Rush and Bob was nudging me and saying thatís a good lap and thatíll get you in. Then, the explosion Ö and I instantly turned to watch the monitor in the press room and everything since then has been a blur. The images on the screen will never leave my head. I have been fighting to keep them away, but Iím not sure if I need to. In a way, I almost need them there to cope because the last time I saw my friend he was doing what he did best: driving a race car with all his might.
We are all going through the stages. I have still not passed through denial and anger. Iím mad as hell that Scotty is dead. I have cussed aloud at him, God, drag racing, and myself. I know there are a lot of people on our team who are doing the same thing, but I think we have to do those things to become stronger. The anger will pass and the denial will, too, but I still keep watching the pit area waiting for him to come around the corner of the race rig and wake up from this nightmare, but I know that is not going to happen and no tribute decal or t-shirt or anything is going to bring Scotty back to us. I hope someday soon that I can get to a point of grieving, but Iím not there yet.
Scotty touched so many peoplesí lives. I guess I knew that before he died, but it was not as apparent to me as it has been in this past week. More than 5,000 people have sent e-mail condolences and thatís only a fraction of the calls and text messages and all sorts of things that all of us have been getting. I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for being there for us when we need you most.

I also want to say thank you to a few people in particular who you all need to know have been the only way I have been able to get through this so far. Phil Burgess was the first person I called after we found out that Scotty passed. He coached me and guided me as a peer but with the care of a friend, and I will never be able to thank him enough. Dave Densmore and Elon Werner, the PR powerhouse at John Force Racing, have been rock-solid brothers to me, offering advice and giving me two big shoulders to cry on in those first few terrible hours. Thanks guys, love you. My best bud, Lisa Powers, who you all know from the Herbert camp, has been the best friend I could have. I havenít leaned on her too much because I have a hard time letting things go, but she has been there for me with every phone call and late-night texts. She knows me well enough to not try to make me let things out right now and for that I am most thankful to her. Everyone in our little drag racing world has been tremendous, so on behalf of Kalitta Motorsports, thanks to all of you who have expressed your condolences and support and prayers. We are truly blessed to know you all.
The world will never be the same without Scott Kalitta. I will cherish every memory I have of him Ö good and bad. I could keep rambling here for days, and I may again soon, but for now, Iíve said all I can say.
I miss you, Scotty. You were never just my driver. You were always my friend. Thank you, bud. I hope you and Eric are having some great match races up there.
- Toddly