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Guys,

I had the misfortune of witnessing a really terrible accident at the track this past Sunday.

I've probably been to the track 5 time in the past 5 years. With a house full of young children and the rest of life's responsibilities there just hasn't been much time for my hobbies. I've hoarded a ton of nice parts and project cars, but I just don't have the time to do the things I used to enjoy. Well, my twin sons are 4 years old now and they are just getting to the point where my wife feels comfortable with letting them follow daddy around so dad had the bright idea of taking his boys to the 1/8 mile drag-strip in Eatonton, Ga. this past weekend.

I cleaned out the Suburban, packed up my boys and my camera and headed to the track. We get there and it looks like it's going to be a fairly quiet evening as there weren't very many racers there.

My boys and I are sitting in the stand watching the races when this kid driving a Nova that he and his father had just built gets into what appeared to be a relatively mild accident. He had taken the car down the track several times and it ran hard and straight. Not super fast ( high 6s) but respectable. His last run was a buy run and it looked like he was giving her all she'd take when the rearend broke traction and began fishtailing at about mid track. It looked like the car side-swiped the guard rail, was thrown back into the center of the track and then slammed nose first back into the guard rail. From where we were sitting it didn't appear to be that bad of an accident. Since I knew the races were over for the day I tell my boys lets head back to the truck so we can leave. Unfortunately, my truck was parked right beside where the car came to a stop. When we got to my truck I realized that the accident was much, much worse than I originally thought. The guardrail had broken loose, punched through the radiator support traveled between the engine and shocktower on the drivers side, punched through the firewall, punched through the driver's side dash, and come out the drivers side door. One complete rail had traveled through the car and the second was about 3/4 of the way through when it bent and stopped the car. The driver had to be airlifted to the trauma center. While they EMTs were trying to put him on the stretcher about half of his left leg fell on off. I just found out today that the poor kid died. I don't even know his name but it breaks my heart. His mom, dad, and 2 sisters were right there when it happened. I really feel terrible for his dad. They had build the car together in the back yard. How do you live with something like that?

I've decided that all of my cars are just cruisers. Sorry for the rant.
 

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Sorry to hear about that. I'm not a fan of those fence post aluminum guardrails, the concrete barriers will sure tear up a car but the driver is much more important.
 

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The last time I heard about a guard rail coming unglued, it was because the rails were overlaped backwards. All seams overlap away from the starting line, this way they don't peal open and go into the car. I hope this was not the case.
Van
 

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Was the track Macon National aka Twiggs ???
 

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That would change my mind about putting one of my sons in my seat. I am really glad your boys are at an age that there memory of the accident will fade over the years as long as it is not brought up over them years.

God bless the family.
 

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Simpathies to family and friends of the young man.

If you live your life reserved of all joys for fear of death, you've only given in to death and died prematurly. It is better to live your life as you wish to live and dare death to take you. Any of us could slip and fall in our own shower, dying doing nothing more daring than getting ready for a new day.

Everyone has a time, and if nothing else, that young man probably had a grin on his face the whole evening, right up until the accident. As tragic as the loss of anyone is, he had known a pleasure and spent more time with his father than many many many kids will ever get a chance to do.

Don't live on the image of tragedy, rejoice in the moments of happiness.
 

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Vandy said:
The last time I heard about a guard rail coming unglued, it was because the rails were overlaped backwards. All seams overlap away from the starting line, this way they don't peal open and go into the car. I hope this was not the case.
Van
That's the first thing that came to my mind also....

As you described the accident, that should not have happened to the guardrails, especially on the second impact.
 

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back in the 80's I saw a guy with a very nice Vega tube car running in Lubbock and was running 9's and couldn't afford new axles so he had some factory ones resplined and went racing... to say the least he broke one @ the 330 mark and flipped it over a 69 camaro and rolled it end over end totally scrapping the car, He walked off and wished he would have just waited and got the good axles :shock: Most rear end breakage is from inferior parts or stock stuff ...

I hate to hear about it,prayers go out to the family...


Randy
 

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I've witnessed a few deaths over the years at local and NHRA events.It's never good, but it won't stop my desire to go fast. It just makes me more cautious about my equipment. You said he was going 6.90's .That doesn't seem fast from the stands, but it's flying in a homebuilt car and a inexperienced driver. When I got my Mustang it ran 6.90's and it felt like a rocket,granted now after running mid 5's for a few seasons in my Tbird. The Mustang goes a "slow 6.30" now. But at 100+ mph ...**** happens fast ands a guardrail or a concrete wall is going to be a devastating hit if you ever contact it. Safety first ALWAYS !!!! My prayers are with his family.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
HeadHunters in Putnam Co.

QtrWarrior said:
Was the track Macon National aka Twiggs ???

No this is a small track in Putnam Co. near lake Sinclair. It's not nearly as nice as Twiggs, but is usually more exciting. Has more of am amateur street racer feel. Back when I was a pup all they ran was motorcycle, but about 13 years ago they widened the track, put up lights and started running cars also. The atmosphere is like what Pinks tries to duplicate. Small time racers talking lots of trash and doing a lot of grudge racing. Back in the old days it wasn't uncommon to see the dope boys run for 5k. I've even seen a 20k grudge match there. Don't much of that anymore.

This is the track where Steve Kirk, Terry Robinson, Rob Hill, Mike Hill got their starts, though I doubt any of them would admit it. I remember when Steve Kirk started out in the Red Vette and was only running 8s in the 1/8th. Mike Hill got his start there running a supercharged black 5.0.
 

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Always suck to hear about tragity, But I hope alot of guy will take lessons from it and learn That Safety it the most important thing you can invest in. Most people seem to spend money on HP but neglect the rest of the car.

Putting a 1000hp in a questionable car probably isn't a good idea........
 

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It's always sad news when someone passes away.

That was the one thing I feared when I use to work at the racetrack. I have seen a number of wrecks. Always had this in my mind when I run up to the car to see if the driver is ok. It's a tuff thing to go through, but we have to remember we can die at any minute and it doesn't have to be going down the dragstrip.

Worse one I have seen is a guy in a model T like car. Did the same thing and the guard rail turned edge wise. I just knew the man was dead. The guardrail cut the carb off, wind screen, steering wheel and stopped at his rib cage! Guess it just wasn't his time to go.

I must say I am getting were I really like concrete walls instead of guardrails.
 

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Very sad...........this is the EXACT reason why concrete walls are the way to go. I have witnessed dozens of crashes with cement barriers, and the cars stay on their wheels, and stay on the track surface, with no chance of a foreign object coming in or thru the car. Fortunately they have all walked away, with minor injuries............
 

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You know it's very strange that most of the tracks around here have guardrails. i've seen 3 people get killed and everyone was on a track with concrete walls. But in their defense ,they were all fast cars.Safety is the main thing in this game!!
 

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Wow, that's very sad news. What's odd is the very same thing happened up here in Xenia the last Sunday of the season, without the fatality, a racer in a 63 or so Chevy II or Nova got squirrly at the 1/8th mile, it appeared something broke, and vaulted the guardrail, flipped end over end a few times, and ended up landing on his roof on top of the chain link fence.
Fortunately, he walked away, but his car was completely destroyed.
I wonder if the guardrail where the boy was killed is overlapped correctly, as mentioned earlier. I do know at my track, there is going to be a concrete wall up as soon as possible, the management has been working on that for a while, hopefully we can make it happen next season.
 

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Had a motorcycle racer get killed at my local track(Osceola Dragway) 3 weeks ago. Sad stuff. Makes you rethink alot. Ed
 
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i have seen 5 people die at Tulsa in the past 10 years, it makes me sick. but they died doing what they loved...the last one i seen was Shelly Howard in her top alcohol car which was ran on nitro..
 

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Sad

Those are some sad stories. Having 2 preteen boys makes me think........

That is a good reason that the NHRA safety rules exist but I doubt even as strict as those rules are, it could not have prevented this. Very sad and I feel for the family.

Tom

PS: Are you reading these stories Decon?
 

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56tbird said:
You know it's very strange that most of the tracks around here have guardrails. i've seen 3 people get killed and everyone was on a track with concrete walls. But in their defense ,they were all fast cars.Safety is the main thing in this game!!
I think it really depends on how well kept the guardrails are, if they are double rail or single rail. The story I mentioned was on a single rail strip. Haven't had that problem with the double rail track yet. We still have wrecks and thankfully no one has been killed.

Just last year I watched a motorcycle rider come off his bike at over 120mph! I was doing my burnout and I seen something at the end of the track flying in the air and a motorcycle going up the hill in the shoutdown area without a rider! He flung in the air a good 30' and got up and walked away. Just depends on the conditions and if it's your time.
 
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