You know those kinds of incidents where the only thought in your mind after witnessing it, is how much worse it could have been? Well this is exactly one of those situations.
Last weekend, the Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa. hosted its annual nostalgia extravaganza, the Geezers at the Grove, featuring some of the nations top nitro-burning Nostalgia Funny Cars, including the throwback Candies & Hughes owned by Jim Broome and driven my Mike Halstead. In preparation for one of Halstead’s passes down the Maple Grove quarter-mile, things went horrifyingly awry when, as his crew fired the race car, it lurched forward, throwing them to the wayside while still standing under the body in direct contact with the starter that rolls the engine over.
Captured by an in-car camera aboard the Candies & Hughes machine and also by another camera just a few feet away, Halstead’s crew went through the firing procedure, and before they could even react to what was happening, the RPM’s went sky-high, the clutch engaged, and the car took off. The crewman on the right side of the car, who was priming the engine as part of the normal starting process, was pushed aside, while the other, with his hands still on the starter attached to the front of the supercharger, hung on momentarily before tumbling to the ground and getting out of dodge. The car made it just beyond the burnout box before Halstead, visibly shaken by what had just transpired, brought it to a stop and quickly hopped out of the seat to check on his crew.
(Video Credit: Drag Strip Riot)
Fortunately, it appeared on the video that neither of the crewmen involved incurred any serious injuries, as both quickly got up and dusted themselves off. But no doubt they, just like those of us here at home, were considering how lucky they were, and how much worse of an outcome an already scary situation could have had. This incident really illustrates just how dangerous racing at this or any level can be, regardless of whether the car is sitting completely still or going 250 mph.