When Drag Racing Goes Wrong – October 16, 1971, was a winter day in Louisville, Texas It had rained that morning at Dallas International Motor Speedway, but the pavement was dry for what was expected to be a historic run at the state-of-the-art quarter-mile dragstrip. And it was historic For all the wrong reasons

Television newsman Gene Thomas — real name Eugene T. Allred — started out as a disc jockey in his home town of Oklahoma, eventually moving up to a co-hosting job on an innovative morning show for WFAA Channel 8 in Dallas. top station

When Drag Racing Goes Wrong

Station’s “News 8 Etc”. The show is a mix of hard news, soft features and celebrity interviews Thomas might be reporting on a bank robbery, interviewing the “Hey Ha” Stug Jr. sample, or tackling a 750-pound tiger. Along the way, the tiger won

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A devoted fan of high-performance cars, Thomas raised his hand when it came to riding in a jet-powered dragster built and driven by Art Orphans, who helped put together a military fleet with his older brother, Walt. Surplus jet engine up to four wheels

Art Arphons, who held the land speed record three times – the last with a 576 mph pass in the legendary Green Monster in 1965 – redesigned his dragster Cyclops into the Super Cyclops. Arfons built unattached pods on either side of the giant 17,500-horsepower General Electric J79 jet engine, with Arfons the driver on the left, the passenger on the other. This streamlined design allowed for limited air flow in and out of the engine

Hoping to pass 300mm from the quarter mile before the end of the week, Arphons and Thomas set sail for a practice run. Orphans lit the fuse, and the Super Cyclops exploded Arphons and Thomas shot the trap in 6.01 seconds at 286 mm.

A split-second later, the Super Cyclops crashed “The dragster’s tires blew out and spun 180 degrees and went through the passenger side guardrail, killing Thomas,” Richardson said. died on impact.The two young men were part of the crew for the International Hot Rod Association, which sanctioned the race.

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Art Orphans suffered only minor injuries and, according to one account, returned home to Akron, Ohio, the next day. It was a different time: perhaps the authorities didn’t investigate too much and not only did the security bar photographers, but the police seized at least one film of them from the crash site.

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Art Arphons, who did not star in another Jet Car after the incident, died in 2007 at the age of 81.

Thomas wasn’t the only one who lost his life in the jet-powered car owned by the Arphons brothers. In May 1970, Garth Hardack was killed driving Art Orphans’ jet-powered Chevrolet Corvette, the Jetvet. Walk Morris died in August 1970 driving Walt Orphans’ jet-powered Chevrolet Chevy-2. And Dave Corey was running the Art Orphans Malco Monster in August 1972.

Separately, in March 1974, Dave Anderson drove a Rocket Dragster at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s eighth-mile dragstrip, which was essentially the stock-car track’s pit road. The Pollution Packer — so named because its sponsor is a trash-compactor manufacturer — went out of control, killing not only Anderson but also two workers for another dragster, and injuring three others.

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However, to put it in perspective, the 1970-74 period was a brutal one for drag racing in general. The website DragstripDeaths.webs.com documented 62 fatal accidents during those five years. Certainly most of them don’t involve jet- or rocket-powered dragsters, but most and all draggers, then and now, are powered by internal combustion engines. Despite the miscalculations and its potential for mayhem, a rare coordinated NHRA doubleheader — a simultaneous doubleheader, at that — this weekend at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee has the approval of Top Fuel and Funny Car racers.

APP, N. on both Sunday and Monday. So officers and teams came together to find a better solution What they came up with, the solution, both for financial and customer-experience satisfaction, was an event that would eliminate the removal of Epping while qualifying for the Bristol Thunder Valley Nationals.

Top Fuel driver Leah Pruitt told Creative Compromise that Bristol is one of the most extreme race events ever, which will be exciting for fans every year.

The possibility of winning two “Wally” trophies in the same event is not insurmountable In October 2012, Reading, Pa. The rain-interrupted race ended with the Pro Stock Motorcycle Final Round in Las Vegas. Then in September 2014, the Carolina Nationals in Charlotte moved to the Texas Motorplex near Dallas. In that event, four pairs of Pro Stock Car and All Bikes classes needed to complete their first round of runs, leaving three rounds of racing for Top Fuel and Funny Car Nitro Cars.

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This is the first time, at least in modern history, that the two events will run simultaneously

Crew chiefs will likely be the most burdened, as strategy is usually different from race-day qualifying. “There’s a couple of ways to look at the scene at Bristol right now,” said Jim Oberhofer, one of Rick Weir Racing’s Matty Millikan dragsters. I don’t think running to finish the Epping race at Bristol on Thursday would have been a good idea, just because of the track prep.

“In a perfect world, the NHRA Safety Safari would require a full day of cars running on the track with PJ1 traction compound spray and tire drag,” he said. Top fuel and fun car teams to do the way we all want Ideally, if you wanted to finish the Epping event separately from the Breeping event, then Bristol on Monday would have worked best, as long as the track was still available. “

“The other way to look at it is cost savings,” Oberhofer said. Teams will save money by not having to run one through four on Thursday or Monday The only negative I can see about running the Epping Race in Bristol Qualifying is that usually if you drop a cylinder or smoke or shake a tire during qualifying, you’ll stop the run. Now that we’re ‘racing’ during qualifying, you’ll see what drivers need to do to win that round.

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We had a similar situation at Epping on Saturday when Clay raced Brittany (Force) in the Mission Foods (Bonus) race. Both drivers tried to take the win, but in the process Brittany hit a motor and had a wild ride trying to win the clay. “

Funny Car Racer J. Apart from that, you have to go into some sort of race mode A lot will depend on whether you are in the field after that first qualifying attempt, as far as how you make it to the second qualifying round, which will also be the first round of APP elimination.

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“You have to try to win the (Epping) round, but you also have to do the (Bristol) race. So the first qualifying round will be really important This is definitely a bonus for fans, but you have to be aware if lane choice is important for the next round. Bristol is one of my favorite tracks, but the surface is one of the toughest tracks I compete at every season. It’s definitely tricky, especially when it’s hot out there It’s going to be interesting racing during qualifying, that’s for sure. “

“We’re lucky if we get these cars down to the track, period,” fellow Funny Car driver Ron Capps said of Bristol Dragway (where he’s won three times).

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“You’re racing to win the round,” said Top Fuel’s Sean Langdon A qualifying run will be a residual effect of trying to win your round Anytime I sit in a race car, whether it’s testing, qualifying, eliminations or racing in the finals for the championship, I have the same mindset. Nothing changes on my end, and I don’t think much will change until the tune up

“I love it,” Langdon said. “It’s going to be a lot more risky. Every qualifying run will be important, and every elimination run will be important How they joined the #2 Fast2Tasty Challenge, which will also involve qualifying for the Epping Race and Bristol Race. . . . I think it’s awesome, and I’m excited to be a part of it

“The situation at Epping was difficult. There really is no right or wrong answer to this, because any way you do it, some people will agree and some people won’t. In my opinion, they are

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