Video: Scary Nitro Nostalgia Front Engine Dragster Crash

crash1At the Byron Dragway in Illinois during the Meltdown Drags over the weekend, the driver of this nostalgia front-engine dragster found himself at the center of one of those nightmare scenarios that no driver, crewmember, or spectator ever wants to experience or witness. In a terrible situation gone wrong, what starts off as a nitro-burning pass quickly turns into this driver’s worst nightmare as there appears to be some sort of mechanical malfunction along with other issues that contributes to the end situation. Before we go any further, we’d like to say that we’ve heard the driver is okay, save for a few broken ribs.

According to the information we’ve been able to find on this crash, the driver was knocked unconscious upon initial impact, and that’s what caused the car to run at full throttle, unimpeded for nearly a full sixty seconds, before the safety crew was able to shut it off.

crash2Nitro front-engine dragsters as a whole are insane machines, and it takes a unique driver to want to strap into the bucket and take the full ride. The huge power coupled with the wheelbase and weight distribution makes “handling” a dicey proposition at best and at worst can propel a driver into a situation like this one.  Not only does it look like the wheels flopped into a “death wobble” situation, but the car switched suddenly from backup to forward-motion mode – at full throttle, too – perhaps at the direction of the driver so as to save those behind him when he realized the car was out of control.

We might never know exactly what happened unless by chance some in-car video surfaces of the event, we’re just happy that the safety crew was on-scene quickly and made the best of a real bad situation in getting the car shut off and the driver out without further mishap. The car doesn’t look like it will be salvageable, but what’s most important is that the driver is alive and mostly unharmed. A terrible reminder that a day at the drags can go south in a hurry.

(Video credit: victoryredcolorado)

About the author

Jason Reiss

Jason draws on over 15 years of experience in the automotive publishing industry, and collaborates with many of the industry's movers and shakers to create compelling technical articles and high-quality race coverage.
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