In a fiery crash last Saturday at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta (above). The 46-year-old Kalitta, who won the 1994 and '95 Top Fuel championships, was making a qualifying run for the Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals when his parachute failed to deploy; going 300 mph and unable to stop, he struck a pole anchoring the safety net at the end of the track. Kalitta was the son of legendary drag racer Connie Kalitta and had been a pro driver since '82.
By the Chinese government, that it will pull half of the 3.3 million cars in Beijing off the road during the Olympics in an attempt to clean up air pollution. From July 20 through Sept. 20, cars will be banned in Beijing on alternate days, depending on odd or even registration numbers. Most construction and heavy industry have also been banned during the Games. Du Shaozhong, the deputy chief of Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, estimated the effort would cut emissions by 63% and said, "We have the confidence and capacity to provide good air quality for the Beijing Olympics."
By former Giants defensive lineman George Martin (left), a 3,003-mile cross-country walk to raise money for Sept. 11 rescue workers who have since developed respiratory problems. Martin, 55, who was a co-captain of the Giants' 1987 Super Bowl championship team and is now a financial services executive, left New York City on Sept. 16 and arrived in San Diego last Saturday after averaging 22 miles a day. While raising $2 million, Martin lost 40 pounds and wore through 24 pairs of shoes and 80 pairs of socks. Said Martin of the first responders who will benefit from his trek, "What they did on that day, I could never do in a million years."
From surgery to repair an injured tendon in his pitching shoulder, Red Sox righthander Curt Schilling. Monday's procedure will likely end his career. Schilling, 41, hasn't pitched since the start of spring training, and last Friday he announced that he had given up hope of playing in '08. Said Schilling, the MVP of the 1993 NLCS and co-MVP of the 2001 World Series, to Boston radio station WEEI, "There is a pretty decent chance I have thrown my last pitch."
To his girlfriend on French TV, minutes after his squad was eliminated from the European soccer championships, French national team coach Raymond Domenech. While being interviewed after a 2--0 loss to Italy on June 17, Domenech asked Estelle Denis, with whom he has two children, to marry him. French fans expecting an apology for the defeat were outraged—the sports daily L'Equipe called it an "error of taste"—and many have called for the coach to step down. Domenech, who later apologized, also offered an odd excuse for the loss: He said his team fell into a "closed" style of play because its hotel in Lake Geneva was on a cul-de-sac.
At age 74, former SI senior writer Herm Weiskopf. After working as the sports editor of a small paper in Lock Haven, Pa., Weiskopf joined the magazine's staff in 1957 and stayed for 33 years. In addition to covering college football and college basketball, he wrote the Inside Pitch baseball column. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, JoAnne; four children and eight grandchildren.
Of heart failure at age 71, comedian George Carlin. An antiestablishment icon in the 1970s, Carlin became known for hilariously profane rants that tested the era's obscenity laws; his Seven Words routine about terms banned on TV and radio became the basis for a '78 Supreme Court case on censorship. But one of Carlin's best-known routines was sports based and entirely clean: In Baseball and Football, he contrasted the former's pastoralism with the violent themes of the latter. "Football has hitting, clipping, spearing ... and unnecessary roughness," he said. "Baseball has the sacrifice."