BLACKTOWN, AUSTRALIA -- Top Fuel Showdown Fuel Showdown NHRA Top Fuel star Hillary Will, the world's fastest female, qualified her 8,000-horsepower dragster in the No. 3 (5.013 seconds, 213.47 mph) spot for tomorrow's final eliminations of the Shannons U.S.A. v. Australia Top Fuel Showdown at Western Sydney Int'l Dragway in Sydney, Australia.
Will, a 28-year old native of Fortuna, Calif., is the only American competing in the event. Her team, led by crew chief Jim Oberhofer, was plagued by many mechanical problems throughout the three sessions of qualifying Friday at WSID and had to hurry to make their final attempt, which looked strong early but faded down track. Will's 5.013-second lap from the first qualifying session of the day ended up being the team's best. Will and the other seven competitors in tomorrow's Top Fuel eliminations will be vying to win the inaugural Scott Kalitta Memorial Trophy.
Will is set to race against No. 6 qualifier (5.519 sec., 197.94 mph) Mark Mariani in round one of eliminations tomorrow afternoon.
The 2008 racing season was the best of Hillary Will's three-year career as a professional driver. Will became the fastest woman in the world when she posted a 335-MPH lap down the quarter-mile race track at the first event in the 2008 NHRA season. Will then powered her 8,000-horsepower, nitro-fueled dragster to a career-high fourth place finish in championship points after scoring three final-round finishes and five semi-final round finishes. She picked up an emotional first NHRA national event title in Topeka, Kan., June 1, 2008.
Scott Kalitta, a teammate of Will's at Kalitta Motorsports and the 2005 and 2006 champion of the U.S.A. vs. Australia Top Fuel Showdown, died June 21, 2008, from injuries he suffered in a high-speed Funny Car racing accident at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park during qualifying for the NHRA national event in Englishtown, N.J.
Scott, the son of Kalitta Motorsports team owner and drag racing legend Connie Kalitta, was a two-time NHRA Top Fuel World Champion (1994-1995) and the winner of 18 NHRA national events (17 Top Fuel, 1 Funny Car). Scott is survived by his father, Connie; wife, Kathy; and sons, Corey, 15, and Colin, 9.
Scott continues to hold the Australian Top Fuel speed record, 332.84 mph, set in December, 2006, at WSID with Oberhofer at the helm. On that lap, Scott also posted the quickest Top Fuel time ever on Australian soil, 4.517 seconds.
Based in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Kalitta Motorsports is a Top Fuel and Funny Car drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. The racing operation was started in 1959 by legendary drag racer and team owner Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta.
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