Drag Racer escapes unscathed as car crashes and explodes in massive fireball
A lucky drag racer had a miraculous escape after his monster car crashed and burst into flames seconds into a race.
Dramatic video footage shows the moment Kevin Chapman’s car lost control and crashed into the track walls at Santa Pod Raceway in Northamptonshire on Saturday.
Shocked crowds watched as the vehicle slammed into a barrier before bursting into flames and turning upside down just seconds after its start in the 10,000 horsepower Funny Car Cup series.
The Ford Mustang’s safety parachutes deployed and its body instantly detached from the engine.
Surprisingly, defending champion Kevin emerged uninjured and walked away from the crash to generous cheers from the crowd.
The video shows the horror crash from several different angles, including several almost directly in front of the car’s final stopping point.
The vehicle, dressed in white and blue bodywork, rushes from the start line of the racecourse under the gaze of hundreds of fans.
Within seconds the car can be seen heading to the left side of the course before the driver loses full control.
The car spins, hitting the barrier head-on as it flips over and a huge ball of fire consumes the vehicle, appearing to come from its front.
Fortunately, the bodywork detached instantly and brake parachutes activated, allowing the driver to escape without serious injury.
Members of the crowd can be seen reacting in shock and fear as the incident unfolds.
Spectators were shocked after the vehicle burst into flames just seconds into the race
Kevin Chapman’s Ford Mustang spins out of control before hitting the barrier, flipping onto its roof and bursting into flames
A camera angle observes the car’s tragic journey just behind the start line, showing crew members and mechanics watching the explosion before racing towards the vehicle.
The video then cuts to video of the public at the scene after an unknown amount of time, where a large group of people along with two ambulances and several other vehicles can be seen gathered around the remains of the drag car.
Initial investigations into the crash, which happened on Saturday May 28, suggest a loose body panel may have blocked the car’s fuel injection mechanism.
The car’s safety equipment – including a roll cage, multi-layer fire suit and crash helmet – was thought to have shielded him from the worst of the impact.
Early investigations into the crash suggest a loose body panel may have blocked the car’s fuel injection mechanism, causing the huge explosion on the race course
The video shows the incident from several different angles thanks to members of the public filming it on their smartphones
Mr Chapman told local television news after the event: ‘When I left the start line the car veered to the right.
“I eased off the throttle to pull the car straight, then reapplied the power to continue the race, but unfortunately the right rear tire had more traction than the left and pushed me all the way into the wall.”
“These machines have 10,000hp and are very unforgiving. As you can see it was a huge accident – but I came out totally unscathed.
He was due to race again in July, but the car is unlikely to be repaired in time to do so.
A spokesman for Santa Pod Raceway in Wellingborough said: ‘We are grateful for the high safety standards maintained in drag racing which saved driver Kevin Chapman from injury in the crash.
The safety mechanisms triggered instantly when the car was ignited, causing the bodywork to separate and the drag chutes to trip
“Kevin was carefully examined at our medical center and found to be unharmed, which we are all grateful for.
“Kevin’s next race in the Funny Car was scheduled for an event in July, but the car is unlikely to be fixed in time.
“We all wish Kevin and his team the best of luck and look forward to their return to the track when they are ready.”
Funny Cars, developed in the United States in the 1960s, can hit 300 mph in just four seconds.
The weekend saw round two of Santa Pod’s Funny Car Cup Series at Wellingborough Racecourse. Kevin had already won the first round at Easter.
Santa Pod Raceway, dubbed the birthplace of European drag racing, is a quarter-mile drag racing strip that was converted from a disused U.S. Air Force base in 1966.
It takes its name from the combination of Santa – in a nod to Southern California – and Podington, the name of the airfield and the nearest village.
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