Engine failure led to death of Funny Car driver

TRENTON, N.J. - September 17, 2008 - The New Jersey State Police said investigators determined that "catastrophic mechanical failure" caused a fuel-fired explosion in Kalitta's Toyota Solaria during a qualifying race at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

State police said the rear portion of the car's body separated, deploying the damaged parachute system. The car crashed into a pole and a boom truck.

The 46-year-old died from multiple injuries during the final round of qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals.

Kalitta, a Palmetto, Fla., resident, started his career at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in 1982.

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