Dave Gallegos Launches His Funny Car Into A Cornfield At Eddyville

One of the worse scenarios you can face on a run down the dragstrip is being unable to stop. Now, imagine you’re the pilot of a Funny Car that just got done making a four-second 1/8-mile rip and you can’t get the chutes to deploy. Dave Gallegos faced that exact situation at Eddyville Raceway Park (ERP) this weekend and it turned his Nitro Clown Funny Car into a corn harvesting machine.

Gallegos came to the Funny Car Chaos (FCC) event at ERP with a new parachute deployment device from Electrimotion as an addition to the car’s safety arsenal. The team finished installing the deployment device at the track so they could test it during qualifying.

During his second qualifying run, Gallegos had an issue with the arm that controls the parachute level. The Nitro Clown team worked on solving the lever issue and had to come up with a plan to get in the show during the final qualifying session.

“We went up and ran a nice 4.00 in Q3 and that was more than enough to put us in the show which was awesome,” Gallegos says. “The problem is that when I reached over to grab the parachute lever, it wasn’t in its normal position. I tried to grab for it several times but couldn’t get it and I was running out of real estate, so I got on the brakes. These carbon-fiber brakes get really aggressive when they get hot, so the car started bouncing. I knew I wasn’t going to make the turnoff, so it was time to make the trip into the cornfield.”

Thankfully, the only things hurt in the crash were the Nitro Clown Funny Car and Gallegos’ pride. The ERP safety team was on the scene of the crash immediately to help Gallegos. After the crash, Gallegos went into investigation mode to determine what caused the lever issue.

“After getting back to the pits and talking with a few people, it appears we had the Electrimotion system set up as a push, rather than a pull system. We had the levers laid too far back and that caused some issues with the body. This crash wasn’t the track’s fault, it was an equipment issue. Ultimately, it was on us since we didn’t have the Electrimotion system set up and ready,” Gallegos says.

Gallegos feels terrible about the crash because he let his crew and sponsors down, but he has plans to return to racing in 2023. The Nitro Clown team will campaign a former Matt Hagan race car next season at several FCC, Nitro Chaos, and NHRA events.

“We’re not going to let this get us down. We ended up selling about $8,000 worth of parts and souvenirs from the crashed car at the event. We’re going to hang part of the car up on the shop wall since we made so many great memories with it. My son is going to start racing his nostalgia front engine dragster soon, so I’ll be involved with that the rest of this season,” Gallegos states.

Enjoy the wild in-car video from Adib Bustos that shows just how crazy of a ride Gallegos took when the chutes failed.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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