HOUSTON (April 20, 2017) – Earlier today, Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Toyota Top Fuel dragster, was awarded a special honor by NASA, while on a tour of NASA's facilities.
This honor was due to Doug and his company, Kalitta Charters, longstanding collaborative efforts with NASA on safely ensuring transportation of team members and critical spaceflight hardware to the Houston-area after work in the International Space Station (ISS).
"It is an honor to receive such an award from NASA due to my work with them in space station experiment deliveries," said Kalitta. "NASA does very interesting experiments in space and it is a honor to be a small part in making that successful."
The special award includes an ISS mission patch that was flown on the final Space Shuttle flight, STS-135, in 2011.
“One of NASA’s primary goals of the International Space Station is to conduct world class research," said ISS Program Manager Kirk Shireman. "A key component of conducting this research is the rapid return of samples from space. Kalitta plays a key role in rapidly transporting the science samples as well as other critical hardware from the landing site to the Johnson Space Center. The partnership between Kalitta and NASA is helping scientists around the world conduct important research and is helping NASA operate the International Space Station.”
The driver of the Mac Tools Toyota Top Fuel dragster will return to the drag strip to compete in the fifth event on the season, the NHRA SpringNationals in Houston beginning tomorrow afternoon. Kalitta is seeking his third consecutive event win and fourth overall at the Houston-area facility, which would establish new track records.
Doug Kalitta with members of the NASA team with the plaque to honor his service.
A close view at the inscription on the award given to NHRA star Doug Kalitta earlier today.
Photo courtesy of NASA.
About Kalitta Motorsports:
Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Kalitta Motorsports is a Top Fuel and Funny Car drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The team was founded and is owned by drag racing icon Connie “the Bounty Hunter” Kalitta. For more than 50 years, Connie has been involved in the sport as a driver, tuner, and an owner. Kalitta Motorsports is one of the most successful teams in the history of auto racing with six world championships and over 100 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.
Team Kalitta fields five full-time entries in the NHRA Mello Yello nitro classes. Connie Kalitta’s nephew, Doug Kalitta, pilots the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster; Auto Club Road to the Future candidate Troy Coughlin, Jr. drives the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster; former Top Fuel champion Shawn Langdon is the driver of the Global Electronic Technology Top Fuel Dragster; J.R. Todd is the driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car and Alexis DeJoria pilots the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car. Connie Kalitta serves as head tuner for all Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Todd Smith on the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, Nicky Boninfante and Tommy DeLago on the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car and Rob Flynn on the Global Electronic Technology Top Fuel dragster. Jim Oberhofer leads the efforts on both the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster and the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster. He is assisted by Troy Fasching on the Mac Tools dragster and Glen Huszar and Nick Casertano on the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster.
Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include ARP, AutoDesk CAM, Champion, Cogistics, Darton Sleeves, DHL, Global Electronic Technology, JEGS, Justice Brothers, Kalitta Air, Mac Tools, Racing Electronics, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, SPY Optic, Technicoat Companies, Tequila Patrón, TMS Titanium, Toyota, WIX Filters and Ziebart.