What Happened at the Carolina Nationals Yesterday?

By David G. Firestone

Yesterday, I called out NASCAR, today, I’m calling out the NHRA. I’m demanding an explanation for what happened during the Carolina Nationals on Sunday! Here is how I watch racing, I’ll watch a live telecast whenever possible, but I’ll watch the NHRA whenever it’s on ESPN or ESPN2 since I don’t get ESPN3. So after watching NASCAR on Sunday, I sat down to watch the Carolina Nationals Final Eliminations. The first round of top fuel and funny car went well, at least from my perspective. Then, pro stock started their first round, and the Allen Johnson/V Gaines race started, and I’ll let the video speak for itself.

The 67 year old Vieri Gaines was unhurt, but what happened next stunned me. What followed was an hour of discussion between the crews and the NHRA officials concerning track conditions. The wreck itself did damage to the track, but there were problems leading up to that race. The track had been dealing with concrete issues on the racing surface. Allen Johnson was interviewed while the wreck was being cleaned up, and he slammed the NHRA for letting the cars race on the surface. John Force was very upset, and Tony Schumacher called the racing surface “un-race-able.” Obviously the NHRA officials were aware of the fears of the drivers and of the conditions of the track. There were attempts made to solve the issues, but rain and a bad surface caused the cancellation.

I want an explanation, from Z-Max Dragway, the NHRA or someone involved as to how a racing surface can get that bad. Obviously there was a failure somewhere, and something like that happened. How could the NHRA and Z-Max Dragway allow the competitors to race on a surface that was obviously not capable of holding races safely! I normally wait until Saturday to post new blogs, but this needs to be discussed right now!

I’m demanding an explanation, and the NHRA and Z-Max Dragway owe not just me, but all of their drivers, crew members, sponsors and fans an explanation. Many fans left disappointed, fans watching from home were too, and there was no reason for this. Why wasn’t the racing surface safe? Why was concrete lifting off the track? Why in the world was the track sub par? What makes it even worse is that someone high up on the NHRA chain of command made a decision to allow the race to go ahead despite an unsafe racing surface, and I want to know why they would risk driver safety in that respect!

Both groups have a duty to ensure the safety of the competitors and fans, both groups failed horribly in that respect. V Gaines got lucky, and wasn’t seriously hurt, but that could have been a lot different. How could something like this take place in this day in age? Tom Compton, Dallas Gardner, Bruton Smith, you owe everyone involved, drivers, crew members, sponsors and fans an explanation for yesterday’s debacle. What happened was unacceptable, and someone needs to stand up and explain what decisions were made prior to the event, what the officials knew, and why the decisions were made the way they were.

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