Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School recently hosted three generations of Kalitta family racers and enabled the latest group to fast track their own drag racing careers.
Held at the Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Hawley’s popular NHRA Super Comp dragster licensing course welcomed a trio of possible future stars of the sport: Mitch Kalitta, the 22-year-old son of veteran NHRA Top Fuel competitor Doug Kalitta; Colin Kalitta, the 23-year-old son of late multitime NHRA Top Fuel champion Scott Kalitta; and 28-year-old Kalitta Motorsports’ Marketing Manager Luke Fath.
Doug surprised School staff and attendees by bringing his uncle, the legendary “Bounty Hunter” Connie Kalitta, along for a visit. Kalitta, a storied NHRA Top Fuel competitor with a long list of accolades, including induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and the first recipient of the NHRA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, appreciated seeing the family tradition he started being passed down.
“When I was a kid, I had photos of Connie’s Top Fuel cars on my bedroom wall. I always wanted to become a professional drag racer,” remembered Frank Hawley, the school’s owner. “Having both Connie and Doug there was a treat for everyone.”
Mitchell, Colin, and Luke all enjoyed driving the school’s Super Comp dragsters and did quite well.
“Connie was impressed with what Frank’s got going on and what he did for the three boys,” added Doug Kalitta, who graduated from Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School many years ago. “They had fun, and it was good to get them more seat time,” said Doug. “Frank is the best at instruction and does a great job. I’d highly recommend his school to anyone that wants to drive any type of drag car.”
Although both Mitchell and Colin had driven Jr. Dragsters previously, the young men were astonished by how quickly the full-size cars accelerated in comparison. Fath, too, benefitted from the eye-opening experience from a different perspective and walked away with a better understanding of what goes on behind the wheel.
“I’ve been around Top Fuel cars since I was 12 years old and have always seen Super Comp cars in the lanes, but it was intimidating to get in the car and put it on the transbrake and let go of the button,” Fath explained, adding that he garnered a whole new respect for Sportsman drivers when he felt the thrill of speed for himself. Plus, having his mentors Doug and Connie standing by watching made it a fairly surreal situation overall. “This really changed the way I view what these guys do. It’s addicting.”
There’s a definite interest for the next generation of Kalitta men to continue their own drag racing careers, so it’s not unlikely they may end up back at it if the right situation becomes available.
“It was great to have Mitchell, Colin, and Luke attend our program,” noted Hawley. “They all did a great job, and I look forward to seeing them get a chance to go racing.”