Connie Kalitta: The Bounty Hunter

Kalitta poses with the SOHC Ford-powered Funny Car.
Kalitta poses with the SOHC Ford-powered Funny Car.

Photos: Courtesy Kalitta Motorsports

In a career that has spanned decades, Conrad “Connie” Kalitta has won as a driver, crew chief and team owner. Kalitta is a true maverick in a sport that already defies expectations. His career and work in the industry are also key pieces of drag racing history. Career highlights include winning 10 NHRA national events between 1967 and 1994 and being the first driver to hit 200 mph at an NHRA event in 1964.

Running as the “Bounty Hunter”, Kalitta kept a wanted list of opponents painted under the roll cage of his car, ceremoniously checking them off the list once he’d beaten them.  His infamous SOHC Ford-powered dragster was a huge fan favorite. 1967 was a great year for Kalitta, winning the NHRA, AHRA and NASCAR Winternationals. He used some of his winnings to purchase a twin engine Cessna plane which became the basis of his new business  transporting automotive parts. That small start eventually grew into the hugely successful Kalitta Air.

Currently retired from driving Connie Kalitta is still active with Kalitta Motorsports.  What’s your favorite memory of his racing career? A favorite race or rivalry when Kalitta crossed a name off that famous list?  Let us know in the comments.

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