Second-generation Australian drag racing star Ben Bray emerged under his own power from a horrific racing accident on Saturday at the 47th annual Fuchs Winternationals at the Willowbank Raceway when he lost control of his Factory Xtreme Nissan Altima.
Bray, the son of legendary Aussie doorslammer racer Victor Bray, was making a single run on the Ipswich quarter-mile when, near the half-track mark on what appeared to be an otherwise trouble-free run, his turbocharged Nissan made a hard move to the right, shooting across the centerline and turning onto its roof before striking the wall with incredible force, roof-first. Upon impact, the car shed the front end and the doors, remaining on its roof and sliding to a stop in the shutdown area.
Just a day earlier, Bray had set a new Australian record in the Factory Xtreme class with the third fastest four-cylinder run and the fastest with an SR20 motor ever at 6.687 at 207.53 MPH.
According to Willowbank Raceway officials, the 30-year old, three-time Australian National Drag Racing Association champion climbed from the race car and walked to the ambulance to be checked over by medical personnel. He was later transferred to a local hospital where he remained in stable condition and under evaluation on Sunday. Bray was reportedly in good spirits and insistent that his father continue to race in Top Doorslammer (a class that Ben himself is also a regular competitor in) at what is considered the largest drag racing event held outside of the United States. Victor obliged his sons’ wishes and returned to take on Martyn Dack in the first round, a matchup he won when Dack experienced clutch issues. However, the elder Bray opted to sit out the remainder of eliminations as he re-joined his son to hear the preliminary examination reports.
Video credit: Drag Import Media
Those early reports have indicated injuries to Bray’s back and ribs, although the extent and recovery timetable for those injuries are to be released later this week.
“Despite the misfortunes that we personally suffered this weekend, the Winternationals this year were a complete barnstormer and we are very proud to have been able to be part of this amazing meeting with a killer crowd and a brilliant atmosphere,” said Victor Bray.
“We would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank everyone for the well wishes we have received for Ben and our family from both fans and the drag racing community – we have been keeping Ben up to date with all of your kind words and we are sure these will aid in his quick recovery.
“While it has definitely been a tough weekend, Ben and I, along with the whole family, are extremely proud of Madi for flying the TBR flag this weekend and taking home the Winternationals event win in Junior Dragster – this was only her third event and she absolutely excelled from start to finish.”