Since I took these pictures of the accident that took the life of Scott Kalitta, I have been agonizing over exactly what to do with them. Being a fan of drag racing, and out of respect for Scott and his family, I knew that in no way did I wish to profit from these photos.
After a lot of soul searching, and with the valued advice of friends, family, and many in the internet community, I have decided to release the photos. And here is why:
There really wasn't any photos or video of the accidents that took the lives of Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin. I think because of that perhaps there wasn't much public pressure to make the cars and tracks safer for the drivers. But then I think back to the video and images of Dale Earnhardt's fatal accident. While the existence of such images may have been painful to the family, the fact that they were in the press and in the public eye may have contributed to the attention NASCAR put into improving safety and ultimately the result has been safer cars and race tracks. Those changes have, without a doubt, saved the lives of drivers.
I hope that some similar attention might come from these photos. There is always improvements to be made to dragstrips and drag cars. They are never "safe enough". Perhaps the images of the engine explosion might help drag racing teams make improvements to the cars and perhaps tracks might make improvements to the shut-down and run-off areas.
I urge anyone who has been touched by this tragedy, or who is just a fan of motorsports, to please donate to one of these charities that were close to Scott's heart:
Saint Stephen's Episcopal School
Attn: Development Office
315 41st Street West
Bradenton, FL 34209
B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe)
c/o Doug Herbert Performance Parts
1443 E. Gaston St.
Lincolnton, NC 28092
I am releasing these under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. If any magazines or commercial websites would like to use these images, please contact me. Again, I don't wish to profit from them, but I want to make sure the images are used in a non-exploitative way.
Godspeed Scott Kalitta...