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UPDATE: No serious injuries after piece of car’s body hits grandstand railing at NHRA event

Apr 20, 2013, 6:16 PM EDT

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UPDATE (6:16 p.m. ET): USA Today has posted Gluck’s story on the incident in Charlotte, which contains this quote from driver Robert Hight: “I asked where the body landed and they said, ‘In the stands.’ It was like, ‘Oh, man…’ But they came back to me real quick and said no one was injured and everybody is good. That’s not what you want [to] have happening.”

UPDATE (4:17 p.m. ET): Gluck is reporting that both of those fans that were treated for cuts have already been released from the track’s care center. He’s also tweeted photos of Hight’s car body (one of which is now shown) and where the remains of it ended up: “A piece of the car body hit a railing above pedestrian walkway. Rest landed off track. Wow, everyone here should go buy a lotto ticket.”

The NHRA has now tweeted that racing is back on in Charlotte after a delay to clean up “Hight’s boomer.”

A car body has gone into the stands at Charlotte’s zMax Dragway during qualifications for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. USA Today’s Jeff Gluck is reporting that two individuals are being treated on site for minor scrapes and that driver Robert Hight, whose car body was identified as the one that went into the stands, is fine.

The NHRA’s Twitter account has mentioned a “body-launching engine explosion” involving Hight, but nothing more of the incident at this time. More to come…

  1. wallio - Apr 20, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    Man that could have been bad. I’ve been at NHRA races with boomers like that, you wouldn’t believe how far and high the bodies go. Plus you can feel the heat 20-30 rows up. Everyone should go buy a lotto ticket.

  2. techmeister1 - Apr 20, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    There seems to be a lot more “boomers” these days in spite of the burst panels, which begs the question when is NHRA and other sanctioning bodies going to do more to protect the fans, teams and drivers? These “boomers” are much more than entertainment, they are a liability. Fans don’t go to a stock car or drag race with the intention of being injured or worse and they should not need to be copncerned about these types of situations.

    Thankfully not one was seriously injured in this incident but the outcome could have been much different. I’ve lost count of the number of Funny Car bodies I’ve seen go “boom” in the last 2-3 years but’s it more than I’ve seen in the previous 10 years so something needs to be done. These explosions are getting so violent that the bodies often scatter like glass and fly in many directions. This is simply not acceptable.

    BTW, 4-wide sucks and I refuse to even watch it. I know Bruton Smith meant well but it just sucks and isn’t real drag racing as we’ve all come to know and love. Think “Circus Act” for the clueless and then you’ll understand 4-wide.

    • moezilla - Jun 24, 2013 at 2:05 PM

      I apologize for the late reply…I was wondering if you read this article?

      I haven’t heard anything lately from the NHRA or DSR, but I would give the top teams the benefit of the doubt when it comes to safety innovation, John Force racing and their efforts concerning chassis upgrades after Eric Medlen’s death and DSR for their development of the enclosed canopy on their dragsters…I agree that the explosions are getting too violent to the point that serious fan injury is inevitable…It is a scary situation that I witnessed first hand a couple years back at Bandimere when John Force tossed the body close to half track during Saturday qualifications…however, I must admit, it was quite the adrenaline rush, watching to see where the body was going to land while Matt Hagan flew past at close to 300 mph….

      Concerning your comment on the 4-Wide Nationals….I am of the opinion that the NHRA has always been a 50/50 proposition, the racing vs. “the show”…’s this mix that makes drag racing as exciting as it is…..during the “golden years” of the NHRA, 4 wide racing was all but non-existent, the normal, 2 wide format was the chosen form, but think of all the 1/8 mile burnouts, the dry hops, the wheel stands, the 1/4 mile pedal fests between 2 nitro burning front engine dragsters….the new 4-wide format is just an extension of “the show” that the NHRA has always relied on to bring in the fans….I will agree, however, that the 4-wide concept should be limited, Z-Max Dragway and perhaps The Strip at Las Vegas, another Bruton Smith owned track that, with renovations, could host a 4-wide format…..

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