We initially hesitated from showing you video of the 300 MPH crash and death of NHRA champ Scott Kalitta after we received a tip that a video from the stands had made its way to YouTube. We decided the death of a drag racer was a rather gruesome thing to show you. Although we knew the race was being broadcast by ESPN2, we figured they'd cover it with the dignity and respect it deserved. We hadn't realized it'd been replayed by "the deuce" immediately after it happened and then again, and again, and...yeah. So we figure — hey, if a mainstream sports media outlet like ESPN feels comfortable replaying it, then it must be alright. Right? Yeah, we're still not sure. But we deserve to give you the right to make that decision on your own. If you're one of those people who wants to see something like this — click the play button to see the Scott Kalitta crash. [via ESPN2]
This is one of the oldest tracks on the NHRA schedule. 300 mph machines certainly weren't in the realm of possibility at the time of design and construction. I watched the race coverage yesterday and heard one of the drivers interviewed saying that at tracks like this, if they can't lengthen the shutdown area, than they need to shorten the race distance to the 1000' mark.
After becoming a bit of a drag racing fan, it hurts to see this happen to this particular racing community. They're all competitors, but it seems like a pretty tight group of folks who all know and care for each other. It's refreshing to see as a contrast to the outright hostility that sport can generate in people. Case in point: In the first round yesterday, Robert Hight was supposed to race against Kallita. He staged his car in his lane while the entire Kalitta team stood in the opposing lane where Scott should've been. When the lights went green, Hight idled his car down the track. Classy and very poignant.