Drag Strip Deaths

Subtitle

      1995-1999 Fatalities
Emmett Barr

Born:  September 6, 1949

Died:  May 23, 1996

Buried:   Sylvania Hills Memorial Park, Rochester, Pennsylvania

Age:  46

Full Name:  Emmett Carl Barr

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Quaker City Dragway, Salem, Ohio

Event:

Accident Date:  May 22, 1996

Car:  1927 roadster

Biographical:  He was making his third run down the race track.  He had been clocked at about 140 MPH.  The car failed to stop and struck a guard rail and a dirt hill.  The car came to a stop about 100 feet off the race track.  His helmet came off and he suffered severe head injuries.  He was taken to Salem Community Hospital from where he was transported by helicopter to Presbyterian University Hospital in Pittsburgh where he died several hours after the accident.  He was from Rochester Township, Pennsylvania, and had been drag racing for thirty years.  He owned and operated a general repair business out of his home garage.  He was survived by his wife, Vicki, son, Bill, and daughters, Terri and Lori.

Sources

"Dragway wreck kills Rochester Twp. man," Beaver County Times, May 23, 1996

"Drag racing fraternity mourns loss of Barr," Beaver County Times, May 23, 1996

"Barr family has long love affair with drag racing," Beaver County Times, April 28, 1994

Bill Barr, e-mail communication to site administrator, Jan. 14, 2012

Photos

Bill Barr, e-mail communication to site administrator, Jan. 18, 2012

 

This photo was reportedly taken on the starting line at the beginning of his fatal run.

Jack Bell

Born: 

Died:  ca. March 1996

Buried:   

Age:

Full Name: 

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Atlanta Dragway, Commerce, Georgia

Event:   

Accident Date:  ca. March 1996

Car:  Monza Super Pro bracket car

Biographical:  He was driving in the left lane against a rear-engined dragster during eliminations.  When he hit the breaks to keep from breaking out, he lost control of the car and drove into the path of the dragster.  The two cars collided and the Monza went over the guard rail and hit the scoreboard.  It then continued on into a light pole and a chain link fence.  He died instantly.  He was from Georgia.

Sources

Bob Gibson, e-mail communication to site administrator, Jan. 14, 2013

Photos

Mike Bell

Born: 

Died:  1996

Buried:   

Age:

Full Name:  Michael Bell

Nickname:  "The Chatsworth Madman"

Drag Strip:  Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Nevada

Event:   NHRA Division 7 race

Accident Date:  1996

Car:  Keith Black-hemi T/AD

Biographical:  He was killed when he crashed into a guard rail past the finish line.  He was from Chatsworth, California, and at one time owned a Motorcraft distribution company.  His best recorded time was 6.16 at 226 MPH.  In the late 1980s he was the driver of a record-holding drag boat which he sold in 1992.

Sources

"Track paves way for new era," Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 2, 2000

http://www.riverdavesplace.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-10204.html (accessed 12/24/10)

DragList.com

Nevada Death Index (Ancestry.com) [he is possibly Michael Bell, b. Aug. 23, 1948, in Louisiana, died Oct. 24, 1996, in Nevada]

Photos

http://rickclinephotography.com/DragBoatPhotos.htm

 

Jason Betwarda

Born:  August 19, 1970

Died:   June 12, 1999

Buried:   Ferncliff Mausoleum, Hartsdale, New York

Age:  28

Full Name:  Jason E. Betwarda

Nickname:  "Racin' Jason"

Drag Strip:   Lebanon Valley Dragway, New York

Event:   

Accident Date:  June 12, 1999

Car:  turbocharged 1993 Ford Mustang LX coupe

Biographical:  He was killed when his car hit a concrete wall and flipped over and over.  He was preparing for a race at Maple Grove the following week. The best times recorded in this car were 7.80 and 181 MPH.  He lived in Scarsdale, New York, and was a vice-president of two family-controlled companies in Paterson, New Jersey.

Video:

Sources

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=4929)

"Death at the track, 1997-2000," Charlotte Observer, November 11, 2001

Photos

http://www.turbobuick.com/forums/turbo-videos-picture-library/262111-racin-jason-betwardas-legendary-twin-turbo-white-foxbody-convertible-mustang.html

 

Lonnie Bostrom

Born:  October 16, 1950

Died:  June 19, 1999

Buried:   Meridian Cemetery, Idaho

Age:  48

Full Name:  Lonnie LeRoy Bostrom

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Firebird Raceway, Emmett, Idaho

Event:   

Accident Date:  June 19, 1999

Car:  "Henry VIII" 1953 Henry J

Biographical:  He had just been clocked at 119 MPH in a qualifying run in the Sportsman Class when his car veered to the left after crossing the finish line.  The car skidded before rolling over and over about a dozen times.  A resident of Meridian, Idaho, he was survived by his wife and four children.  He had been drag racing since the 1970s and was an electronics technician.

Sources

"Meridian racer dies following run at Firebird," Idaho Statesman, June 20, 1999

"Death at the track, 1997-2000," Charlotte Observer, November 11, 2001

Find a Grave website

Carna Lee Bostrom, e-mail to site administrator, Mar. 7, 2013

Photos

Find a Grave (courtesy of Steven Crist)

Carna Lee Bostrom, e-mail to site administrator, Apr. 4, 2014

 

 

Lonnie's daughter, Carna, was given her father's 1964 Galaxie by her mother. She is now (2014) in the process of restoring it.

Mel Bresaw

Born:  December 27, 1948

Died:  May 22, 1999

Buried:   Skyline Memorial Gardens, Portland, Oregon

Age:  50

Full Name:  Melvin Wesley Bresaw

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Southern Oregon Dragway, near White City, Oregon

Event:  NHRA Bracket Bash '99

Accident Date:  May 22, 1999

Car:  1933 Ford

Biographical:  Witnesses thought his throttle may have stuck as they heard him feather the gas after crossing the finish line.  He deployed his parachute, but the car raced up the three-quarter mile uphill shutdown area, over some soft sand, into the woods at an estimated 140 MPH.  He was transported to Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford where he was pronounced dead.  He was a resident of Gresham, Oregon, and was survived by his wife, Janet, and three children. He was a parts manager at a Ford dealership.

Sources

"Mechanic to inspect dragster," Medford Mail Tribune News

"Stuck throttle focus of investigation in drag racing death," Associated Press State & Local Wire, May 24, 1999

"Death at the track, 1997-2000," Charlotte Observer, November 11, 2001

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1635) 

Photos

Find a Grave

 

Robert Camacho

Born: April 17, 1969

Died:  August 23, 1997

Buried:   

Age:  28

Full Name: Robert J. Camacho

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Pomona Drag Strip, California

Event:  Frank Hawley Drag Racing School

Accident Date:  August 23, 1997

Car: 

Biographical:  He was learning to drag race on a 1/8th mile course in a non-competitive solo run. His race car passed the finish line by more than a half mile before going off the course and slamming into a wall.  He was taken to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center where he died several hours later.  He was a resident of Covina, California.

Sources

"Drag racer dies in practice run," Associated Press Online, August 24, 1997

"Officials investigating fatal crash at drag strip," Los Angeles Times, Aug. 26, 1997

Social Security Death Index

California Death Index (Ancestry.com)

Photos

Edward Cray

Born: November 25, 1939

Died:  September 18, 1999

Buried:  

Age: 59

Full Name: Edward H. Cray

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Atco Raceway, New Jersey

Event:  

Accident Date:  

Car: 

Biographical:  He was killed when his car collided with the car in the other lane and went over the guard rail.  He died of massive internal injuries.  He lived in Trenton, New Jersey, and was an electrician.

Sources

"Death at the track, 1997-2000," Charlotte Observer, November 11, 2001

David W. Cray, e-mail to site administrator, Aug. 21, 2014

Social Security Death Index

Photos

Louis Edmonds

Born:  December 12, 1950

Died:  March 9, 1997

Buried:   Appomattox Cemetery, Virginia

Age:  46

Full Name:  Louis Atwell Edmonds, Jr.

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Richmond Dragway, Virginia

Event:  IHRA

Accident Date:  March 9, 1997

Car:  Dodge Daytona

Biographical:  He was going about 130 MPH at the end of the 1/3 mile race track when he crashed.  The cause of the crash was uncertain, but some thought it might have been caused by his brakes locking up.  After going straight, he got sideways, and then rolled over.  He was ejected from the vehicle.  He was a resident of Hopewell, Virginia, and had about 25 years experience drag racing. He was survived by his wife and three daughters.  He was employed by Allied Signal Corporation.

Sources

"Drag racer dies in crash," Richmond Times Dispatch, March 10, 1997

"Death at the track: 1993-1997," Charlotte Observer, November 11, 2001

"Rite for drag racer set," Richmond Times Dispatch, March 11, 1997

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=3128)

Photos

Find a Grave website

Ray Evans

Born:  August 29, 1940

Died:  January 22, 2001

Buried:  Mound Cemetery, Cowden, Illinois

Age: 56 at date of accident, 60 at date of death

Full Name: Ray Allen Evans

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Coles County Dragway, Charleston, Illinois

Event:  test and tune

Accident Date:  May 10, 1997

Car:  dragster

Biographical:  Having drag raced since 1963, he was a bracket racer driving a blown dragster.  He crashed while traveling at close to 180 MPH on the top end.  He went off the end of the race track when the throttle stuck open.  The car sped over the sand trap and the car broke into three pieces like it was designed to do.  The driver's section (and Evans) finally came to a dead stop on an embankment on a golf course located at the end of the drag strip.  His neck was broken, severing his spinal cord.  He lived for three and a half years before passing away due to complications from the injury at the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center in Mattoon, Illinois. He was a resident of Beecher City, Illinois, at the time of the accident.  He had been a long-time employee of Caterpillar.  He was survived by his wife, Minerva, and four children.

Sources

Bob Gibson, e-mail communication to site administrator, March 3-4, 2010

Cindy Evans Bober, e-mail communication to site administrator, Aug. 26-27, 29, 2011

Social Security Death Index

Photos

Find a Grave

Steve Hall

Born:  December 16, 1965

Died:  October 4, 1997

Buried:   Preble Memory Gardens, West Alexandria, Ohio

Age:  31

Full Name:  Steven M. Hall

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Kil-Kare Dragway, Xenia, Ohio

Event:  

Accident Date:  October 4, 1997

Car:  1970 Plymouth Barracuda

Biographical:  After being clocked at 154 MPH, he struck the edge of a sand trap at the end of the race track.  His car became airborne, sailed across a creek, and crashed into the opposite bank.  Initial assessments were that the throttle stuck, but a relative reported that he suffered a heart attack before the crash.  He was transported to Miami Valley Hospital where he was pronounced dead.  He lived in West Alexandria, Ohio, and was survived by his wife, Cheryl.

Sources

"Racer's fatal crash puzzles family, fans," Dayton Daily News, October 6, 1997

"Death at the track, 1997-2000," Charlotte Observer, November 11, 2001

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=3128)

Find a Grave website

Photos

Find a Grave

Blaine Johnson

Born:  May 22, 1962

Died:  August 31, 1996

Buried:  Santa Maria Cemetery, California

Age:  34

Full Name:  Blaine H. Johnson

Drag Strip:  Indianapolis Raceway Park, Indianapolis, Indiana

Event:  U. S. Nationals

Accident Date:  August 31, 1996

Car:  "Travers Tool" T/F dragster

Biographical:  During qualifying, his engine malfunctioned just after he crossed the finish line.  He turned in a time of 4.612 on the run which set a track record and was the fourth fastest time in NHRA history.  He was clocked at 309.59 MPH when debris from the exploded engine punctured a rear tire and dislodged his rear wing.  That sent him careening first into the left retaining wall, then crossed over and slammed into the right retaining wall.  He was transported to Methodist Hospital where he died.  He had a head injury, multiple compound fractures to the lower left leg, a fractured pelvis and a contusion of the left lung.  He lived in Santa Maria, California and was leading the T/F point standings at the time of the accident.

Video:

Sources

"Blaine Johnson dies after drag race crash," San Jose Mercury News, September 1, 1996

"Driver dies after crash," Dayton Daily News, September 1, 1996

"Top drag racer dies after crash," Sunday Oregonian, September 1, 1966

"Death at the track: 1993-1997," Charlotte Observer, November 11, 2001

"NHRA drag racer remembered as top drag racer, better man," Newport News Daily Press, September 2, 1996

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1146) 

Photos

Find a Grave website

 

Jeff Krug

Born: July 20, 1956

Died:  April 20, 1997

Buried:   

Age:  40

Full Name:  Jeffrey Lawrence Krug

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Famoso Drag Strip, Bakersfield, California

Event:  Federal-Mogul Division 7 race

Accident Date:  April 20, 1997

Car:  1934 Chevy B/SR

Biographical:  He died after his roadster lost traction and flipped over a guard rail during the first round of eliminations.  He was air-lifted to Kern Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead. He was a construction company executive from Venice, California.  He won the national championship in NHRA in comp in 1994.  He began drag racing in 1979.

Sources

http://www.nhra.net/wklynews/1997news/news4-20-97.html (accessed 12/24/10)

"Death at the track, 1997-2000," Charlotte Observer, November 11, 2001

California Death Index

U. S. Naturalization Record

Photos

Bruce Lauer

Born:  November 21, 1949

Died:  October 6, 1996

Buried:   

Age:  46

Full Name:  Bruce William Lauer

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Beech Bend Raceway Park, Kentucky

Event:  American Drag Bike Association All-Harley Drag Finals

Accident Date:  October 6, 1996

Car:  1996 Harley-Davidson motorcycle

Biographical:  He was killed on the final day of competition.  He was about 300 feet down the race track when the engine exploded under his chest and knocking him off the bike.  The ignition on his bike malfunctioned and the nitrous oxide filled the cylinders.  When the ignition re-ignited, the engine exploded underneath him.  He died of internal injuries when he was struck by flying debris and a broken neck.  He was from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Sources

"Former Fond du Lac grocer killed while racing Harley," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 7, 1996

"Drag racers jump onto bikes this weekend at Beech Bend," Bowling Green Daily News, October 3, 1997

Kentucky Death Index (Bruce W. Lauer, died October 6, 1996, in Warren, age 46, lived in Breckinridge)

Social Security Death Index  (Bruce W. Lauer, born November 21, 1949, died Oct. 6, 1996, SS# issued in Wisconsin in 1964)

Wisconsin Marriages  (Bruce William Lauer, born about 1950, age 38, residence in Fond du Lac County, married Geraldine Lee Helms, on May 21, 1988)

U.S. Public Records Index  (Bruce William Lauer, born Nov. 21, 1949, address is 626 E. 11th St., Fond du Lac, Wisconsin 54935, in 1993)

Photos

Craig McCallum

Born:  September 12, 1948

Died:  June 21, 1998

Buried:   Richmond County Memorial Park, Rockingham, North Carolina

Age:  49

Full Name:  Craig Eugene McCallum

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Beech Bend Raceway Park, Kentucky

Event:

Accident Date:  June 21, 1998

Car:  Pro Street 1973 Chevrolet Camaro

Biographical:  He was traveling at a speed of about 180 MPH when he veered off the race track.  He became airborne, crashed through a guard rail upside down, and slammed into a timing tower.  He was from Rutherfordton, North Carolina, and was survived by a wife and family.

Sources

DragList.com

"Death at the track, 1997-2000," Charlotte Observer, November 11, 2001

Social Security Death Index (Craig E. McCallum, born Sep. 12, 1948, died June 21, 1998, SS# issued in North Carolina)

Photos

Find a Grave

 

Nina McInnes

Born:  August 22, 1955

Died:  March 5, 1995

Buried:  People's Cemetery, San Andreas, California

Age:  39

Full Name:  Nina Marie Paz McInnes

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Sacramento Raceway Park, California

Event:

Accident Date:  March 5, 1995

Car:  1967 Chevrolet Nova

Biographical:  When her tire blew out at the end of her run, it caused her car to veer left into the guard rail and roll over.  She was transported to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento where she died within an hour of arriving.  She succumbed from severe head injuries.  She was a resident of Lodi, California, and had been racing for four years.  She was an office manager in a dental firm.  She was survived by her husband, two sons, her parents, and two brothers.  One of her brothers had introduced her to drag racing.

Sources

"Death at the track: 1993-1997," Charlotte Observer, November 11, 2001

"Sac Raceway accident kills woman," Sacramento Bee, Mar. 6, 1995

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=2496) 

Photos

Find a Grave website

 

Kevin McInroe

Born:  1945

Died:  December 21, 1997

Buried:   Avonhead Park, Canterbury, New Zealand

Age:  52

Full Name:  Kevin John McInroe

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Ruapuna Park International Raceway, Christchurch, New Zealand

Event:

Accident Date:  December 21, 1997

Car:  1938 Chevrolet coupe

Biographical:  He lost control of his car and when the wheels wobbled, it rolled over.  He was thrown from the vehicle and his helmet came off.  After rolling over another unoccupied car, his vehicle stopped finally in a pit lane next to the main track.  He lived in Linwood, Christ Church, New Zealand.  The coroner's office testified that his death occurred when he was thrown from the car at high speed, suffering severe brain damage and spinal cord injuries.  The crash was precipitated by a broken tie rod assembly.  He also had a loosely fitting shoulder harness, which if it had been tighter, could have saved his life. 

Sources

"Speed wobbles fatal for drag racer," Wellington Evening Post, December 22, 1997

"Experienced drag racer dies in Ruapuna crash," Christchurch PressDecember 22, 1997

"Drag racer dies," Waikato Times, December 22, 1997

"Steering failure cause of racer's crash," Christchurch Press, September 4, 1999 

Photos

Carrie Neal

Born:  October 9, 1971

Died:  July 25, 1997

Buried:   

Age:  25

Full Name:  Carrie Jo Neal

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Sears Point Raceway, Sonoma, California

Event:  NHRA Autolite Nationals

Accident Date:  July 25, 1997

Car:  T/AD Federal-Mogul dragster

Biographical:  In a bizarre accident, Neal's car shot forward at the end of performing her burnout, reaching a speed of 200 MPH when she crashed.  Some thought it might have been caused by a stuck throttle, but others weren't convinced.  What is puzzling is why she didn't hit the kill switch, flip the fuel shut-off switch, or deploy the parachute.  Although she was a beginner in the sport, she was well prepared.  No consensus or satisfactory explanation for the cause of the crash was reached although NHRA claimed it was a stuck throttle.  She lived in Poway, California, and was a computer software tester.

Sources

"Neal's fatal accident difficult to explain," Copley News Service, August 4, 1997

"Stuck throttle may or may not explain Neal's fatal accident," San Diego Union-Tribune, July 31, 1997

"Woman killed in California drag race," San Jose Mercury News, July 26, 1997

"Death at the track: 1997-2000," Charlotte Observer, November 11, 2001 

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=2497)

Social Security Death Index

California Death Index (Ancestry.com)

Photos

Mike Nelson

Born:  August 10, 1940

Died:  September 4, 1999

Buried:   Clover Chapel Methodist Cemetery, Woodhull, Illinois

Age: 59

Full Name: Michael George Nelson

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Cordova Dragway, Illinois

Event:  

Accident Date:  September 4, 1999

Car: 

Biographical: He was survived by his wife, Marilyn, and children.  He owned a contracting business and lived in Bettendorf.

Sources

"Moline businessman headed to Utah for run at land speed record" (http://frontporchexpressions.com/2009/07/22/moline-business-headed-to-utah-for-run-at-land-speed-record/)

"Obituary," Quad-City Times, Sep. 9, 1999

Social Security Death Index.

Photos

Find a Grave website

 

Theodore Perry

Born:  April 4, 1945

Died:  March 12, 1995

Buried:   

Age:  49

Full Name:  Theodore A. Perry

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Delaware Dragway, Delaware

Event:  

Accident Date:  March 12, 1995

Car: 

Biographical:  He was fatally injured at the end of the race.

Sources

"Drag racer dies in crash at end of time trial in Del.," Philadelphia Inquirer, March 13, 1995

Social Security Death Index

Photos

Robert Russell

Born:   June 2, 1977

Died:  December 3, 1995

Buried:   Greenview Memorial Gardens, Forest Hills, Alabama

Age: 18

Full Name:  Robert Tyler Russell

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  North Alabama Dragway, Tuscumbia, Alabama

Event:  

Accident Date: 

Car:  motorcycle

Biographical:  He was riding a motorcycle owned by another person when the throttle stuck.  Witnesses said the motorcycle appeared to speed up as it neared a parking lot.  It veered into a ditch and swerved back across the road.  He partially fell off the bike and his feet were dragging beside the road.  He crashed into a car and the gas tank on the motorcycle exploded.  He was survived by his wife, Jennifer, who brought a lawsuit against the race track, claiming that her husband struck a pothole in the road.

Sources

"Suit filed in dragway cycle crash," Florence Times Daily, January 27, 1996

Photos

Find a Grave website

Joe Smith

Born:  January 24, 1938

Died:  May 29, 1998

Buried:   Justin Cemetery, Justin, Texas

Age:  60

Full Name:  Joseph Emmitt Smith, Sr.

Nickname:  "Papa Joe"

Drag Strip:  Heartland Park, Topeka, Kansas

Event:  test-and-tune

Accident Date:  May 29, 1998

Car:  1991 Ford Mustang Super Pro

Biographical:  After being timed at 10.66 seconds and 127.76 MPH, he raced beyond the finish line, never slowing through a three-quarter mile shut-down area.  After plowing 300 yards through a sand trap, he slammed into a 3-foot high concrete retaining wall and was pronounced dead at the scene.  Initial investigations revealed nothing mechanically wrong with the vehicle.  He was from Manhattan, Kansas, and was an experienced racer.  He was a veterinary professor at Kansas State University.  The autopsy showed that he died from blunt trauma injuries received in the impact, not from a heart attack or other medical condition.  The coroner's investigation was unable to determine why he lost control of the car, ruling it an accidental death.

Sources

"Officials await autopsy on driver killed at Heartland Park," Associated Press, May 30, 1998

"Officials say driver's car checked out before crash," Topeka Capital-Journal, May 30, 1998

"Driver didn't have a medical crisis," Topeka Capital-Journal, June 3, 1998

"Racer's death ruled accidental," Topeka Capital-Journal, August 7, 1998

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1618)

"Death at the track, 1997-2000," Charlotte Observer, November 11, 2001

Photos

Find a Grave website

 

Randy Stickley

Born:  December 11, 1961

Died:  May 18, 1996

Buried:   Mount Zion Cemetery, Fairmont, West Virginia

Age:  34

Full Name:  Randall C. Stickley

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Kanawha Valley Dragway Park, Southside, West Virginia

Event:  

Accident Date:  May 18, 1996

Car: 

Biographical:  While racing at the 1/8th mile drag strip, his vehicle hit a sand embankment and rolled over.  He lived in Fairmont, West Virginia.

Sources

"Death at the track: 1993-1997," Charlotte Observer, November 11, 2001

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=6372)

Photos

Find a Grave

 

Bob Swartz

Born:  March 1, 1946

Died:  October 20, 1996

Buried:   Harlington Cemetery, Waverly, Iowa

Age:  50

Full Name:  Robert L. Swartz

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Cedar Falls Raceway, Iowa

Event:  

Accident Date:  October 20, 1996

Car: dragster

Biographical:  After making a run in the mid-9s, he crashed in the shut down area.  Some thought that his accident may have been due to a front steering link failure. He was survived by his wife, Barbara.

Sources

Dan Hedges, e-mail communication to site administrator, Sep. 24, 2013.

Find a Grave website

Social Security Death Index (gives a death date of Oct. 15, 1996)

YellowBullet.com

Photos

Find a Grave website

 

Elmer Trett

Born:  March 14, 1943

Died:  September 1, 1996

Buried:   Fairfield Cemetery, Fairview, Georgia

Age:  53

Full Name: 

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Indianapolis Raceway Park, Indianapolis, Indiana

Event:  NHRA U.S. Nationals

Accident Date:  September 1, 1996

Car:  T/F motorcycle

Biographical: After finishing an exhibition run at a speed of 232.13 MPH, he was killed when he fell off his motorcycle at a high rate of speed.  He died at Methodist Hospital.  He lived in Demorest, Georgia.  He began drag racing in the late 1960s and was the first motorcyclist to go over 200 MPH, and later, the first to go over 230 MPH.  Two weeks previous he had recorded history's fastest motorcycle run at 6.069 seconds at 235 MPH at the Indianapolis track.  His death came only one day after T/F driver Blaine Johnson's death.  He had been inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame and International Drag Racing Hall of Fame.

Video:

Sources

"Crash kills ex-local Trett," Dayton Daily News, September 2, 1996

"Homage to Elmer Trett, 1943-1996," The Auto Channel, September 5, 1996 (http://www.theautochannel.com/news/date/19960905/news01742.html)

Photos

Motorcycle Hall of Fame (http://www.motorcyclemuseum.org/halloffame/hofbiopage.asp?id=281)

 

 

 

Tim Turner

Born:  September 21, 1952

Died:  August 27, 1997

Buried:   Hilltop Cemetery, Avoca, Indiana

Age:  44

Full Name:  Timothy Joseph Turner

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  E.T. Raceway, near Newberry, Indiana

Event:  practice

Accident Date:  August 27, 1997

Car:  1963 Corvette

Biographical:  After crossing the finish line, his car continued speeding to the end of the race track into an embankment.  He was taken to Green County General Hospital where he was pronounced dead with massive chest and head injuries.   The race track was brand new and had yet to have an official race.  He was from Avoca, Indiana, and was survived by his wife, a son and daughter.

Sources

"Crash at new track kills Indiana driver," Chicago Tribune, August 30, 1997

http://www.bedfordonline.com/content/blogcategory/47/46/13/156/

"Death at the track, 1997-2000," Charlotte Observer, November 11, 2001

Social Security Death Index

Ancestry.com

Photos

Susie Wells

Born:  February 12, 1951

Died:  August 21, 1999

Buried:   Ben Lomond Cemetery, North Ogden, Utah

Age:  48

Full Name:  Susan Jane Wells

Nickname: 

Drag Strip:  Rocky Mountain Raceway, Magna, Utah

Event:  

Accident Date:  August 21, 1999

Car:  "Beauty and the Beast" T/AD Federal-Mogul dragster

Biographical:  She was competing in the semi-final round of eliminations when the car suddenly went airborne in the left lane and slammed into the side wall.  The car then burst into flames and rolled several times.  The fire was quickly extinguished by track personnel and she was flown to University Hospital where she was pronounced dead one and a half hours after the accident.  She had hit the wall at about 100 MPH and died from that impact.  She lived at Lake Point and was survived by her husband and two children.  She had been racing for fifteen years, beginning on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Sources

"Driver badly injured in raceway crash.," Deseret News, August 22, 1999

"Death at the track: 1997-2000," Charlotte Observer, November 11, 2001

"Crash Claims Life of Rocky Mountain Raceways Driver Wells," Salt Lake Tribune, August 23, 1999

Utah Burials database (http://history.utah.gov/apps/burials/execute/viewburial?cemeteryid=WE0800&id=905)

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http://www.northernthunder.com/suzie.jpg (accessed 12/24/10)

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