In all our years in this sport, we’ve never witnessed anything quite like this.
Monte Green and Don Kritzky were racing in the third round of Top Dragster eliminations at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at the Brainerd International Raceway on Sunday afternoon when Green, who was out in front of the quicker Kritzky, began to skate around in his lane just beyond half track. Green’s seven-second dragster sashayed side-to-side and even climbed up on two wheels as it got nervously close to the centerline (and the charging Kritzky in the opposing lane).
Just when it appeared that Green may have had the car reigned in, it took a hard turn back toward the guardrail and flipped onto its side, sliding and barrel rolling across the finish stripe.
But this is where it gets interesting.
Although the pair never made any form of contact, Kritzky, just after passing the out-of-shape Green, shot across the race track in the shutdown area and struck the right hand wall at a glancing blow, then turned back away from the wall and also flipped over onto its side, sliding backwards across the track and going tail-first into the opposite barrier.
While this is occurring, Green’s dragster continues to turn side-over-side, and just before coming to a stop, the nitrous oxide bottle on his dragster breaks free from the chassis and begins darting around the shutdown area under pressure like an unguided missile.
Kritzky’s dragster burst into flames once it came to rest, and the always-quick Safety Safari staff was right on the scene to tap it out. Fortunately further up the track, the nitrous bottle on Green’s dragster stayed within the confines of the concrete barriers and eventually lost pressure without causing any harm.
According to NHRA officials, Green was treated and released at the scene, while Kritzky, although conscious and alert, was airlifted to North Memorial Medical Center in Minneapolis for further evaluation. The NHRA had battled rain showers and misty conditions throughout the day that had wrecked havoc on the Safety Safari and the racers and spectators, and ultimately, eliminations in all categories but Top Fuel were postponed to a future date.