Will Wins Memorial Trophy

NHRA Top Fuel star Hillary Will claimed the inaugural Scott Kalitta Memorial Trophy by winning the Shannons U.S.A. v. Australia Top Fuel Showdown at Western Sydney Int'l Dragway in Sydney, Australia, Sunday.

Will, a 28-year old native of Fortuna, Calif., was the only American competing in the event. Her team, led by crew chief Jim Oberhofer, was plagued by many mechanical problems throughout the event but posted the quickest lap of the event in the final round by defeating Aussie Terry Sainty, 4.743 seconds, 303.16 mph to 5.284 sec., 260.51 mph.

Will, the No. 3 qualifier (5.519 sec., 197.94 mph) defeated No. 6 qualifier Mark Mariani in round one of eliminations after Mariani's dragster would not go into reverse after the burnout. Will got the solo run and advanced to the semifinals after smoking the tires immediately upon hitting the throttle, 13.309 sec., 79.83 mph.

In the semifinals, Will raced against Martin Stamatis. Will got a huge starting line advantage (.118 sec. to .334 sec.), but both dragsters struggled to maintain traction when they got near half-track. When all of the smoke cleared, Will's win light was on after the pedal-fest, 5.909 sec., 189.31 mph to 6.054 sec., 155.47 mph to advance to the final against Sainty.

"This means so much to me and this team," Will, who has now claimed Top Fuel titles in three different sanctioning bodies (ANDRA, NHRA, and IHRA), said. "To get this trophy and take it back to the States is such an honor for us. Scott was my mentor, and he was like a brother to me. We miss him so much, but we are so happy to win this trophy for Connie, Doug, Scott's wife Kathy, and his boys, Corey and Colin and the entire Kalitta family."

Related Topics:

NHRA, 2008, Hillary Will


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