A tractor trailer identified as belonging to the NHRA Funny Car team of Jim Head was involved in a highway accident just outside of Indianapolis on Sunday morning that claimed the life of one and injured two others.
According to information provided by the Indiana State Police, three semis and an SUV were involved in an incident within a construction zone on I-70 near State Road 267 in Plainfield at 9:30 a.m. Preliminary reports from crash reconstructionists suggest an eastbound semi lost control and jackknifed, crashing through a concrete barrier wall. A westbound semi then struck the eastbound semi head-on. A third semi and an SUV were both caught up in the wreckage and received minor damage. The exact cause of the crash remains under investigation, but police believe heavy rainfall at the time was a factor.
While not yet identified by Indiana State Police, family and members of the racing community have publicly confirmed that Dylan Cromwell, 23, a member of Head Racing’s crew, was the driver who was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident scene remained closed to westbound traffic as of 4 p.m. local time Sunday as police continued their investigation and cleanup.
Head Racing driver Blake Alexander is entered in this weekend’s Dodge NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where the hauler is presumed to have been en route to from its home base in Columbus, Ohio. The accident occurred within 12 miles of the Lucas Oil Raceway and where many of the NHRA nitro teams are based in nearby Brownsburg.
A native of Scobey, Montana, Cromwell attended the NASCAR Technical Institute before launching his career in drag racing as a member of Head’s team in 2018.
“This one hurts. Thank you to Dylan Cromwell for all you have done for me and my family. You will truly be missed,” said Top Fuel racer Krista Baldwin via social media.
Added Funny Car racer Ron Capps, “Terrible to hear the tragic accident took the young life of Dylan Cromwell today. I got to spend some time with his family a couple of years ago as they drove over two hours to come see me at a sponsor appearance to say hi and to tell me that their son had achieved his dream of working on an NHRA Nitro Funny Car team. I tracked Dylan down in Jim Head’s pit area at the next race to tell him and show him the hat I got from his parents and I could instantly tell he was from that wonderful family I had met. Our thoughts are with the Cromwell family. RIP Dylan.”
“We clicked from day one at NTI. Your dedication to being the best in every class we had as well as every aspect of life was and will continue to be inspiration to me. I watched you set a goal and a dream and you were doing it. From getting into that engine builder program that was impossible to get into, to finding a home on a drag team and becoming the engine guy. I know that only begins to scratch the surface of the man you were but I would be here all night if I wrote it all out,” said Dustin Pleasanton, a classmate of Dylan’s at the NASCAR Technical Institute.