FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — It was a nerve-wracking weekend at Northern Lights Raceway as the drag strip saw its first major incident in several years’ time.Acting Race Director James Rutherford says that the incident happened on Sunday during the first elimination round in the Pro bracket. Rutherford said that the driver, who declined to be named, was on the starting block and floored the accelerator when the Christmas tree lights turned green. “That car has always been a bit of a wheel-spinner,” Rutherford said. He explained that the force of the wheelie snapped the car’s wheelie bars, which caused the car to rapidly pitch upward. According to Rutherford, when the driver let off on the gas pedal, the car’s front end quickly came out of the wheelie and impacted back onto the track.The car’s front axle snapped with the force of the impact, causing the driver to lose all steering. One of the wheels ended up folding under the car’s front end, causing it to veer into the concrete barricades next to the track. Rutherford explained that the force of the crash moved two of the barricades, severing the electrical cables of the racetrack’s timing equipment.- Advertisement -Rutherford said that though video of the impact shows the severity of the accident, the driver was unharmed. “Those cars have got phenomenal safety built into them. It was just one of those fairly unfortunate incidents where the wheelie bars failed and caused the car to shift its weight onto one tire. He’s done lots of wheel stands with that car for the past twenty years. He’s been racing that car for a long time and its always done pretty big wheelies.” The rest of the day’s races were subsequently cancelled due to the damage to the track’s wiring, though technicians were able to get the wiring repaired late Sunday evening, meaning that things at the drag strip are effectively now back to normal.As for what could have caused the crash, Rutherford stated that in speaking with the driver, it appears as though he was not lined up properly in the “groove,” which is the stickiest part of the track. “As it left the line, it moved to the left, driving one tire out of the groove, and that caused the car to shift its weight,” he said. Rutherford explained that this was the first crash at the drag strip in roughly three years’ time, when a racer from Chetwynd lost control while braking after a run down the track.Despite the accident, Rutherford explained that one full day of racing was able to take place this past weekend. Madison Morton was the winner of the Perfect Light Award for the day. Morton was also the winner of the Jr. Dragster class races, behind runner-up Noah MacDonald. Dave King was the winner of the Pure Street class, with Jason Gertz as the runner-up. Willy Suisdahl took home top spot in the Bike/Sled class, ahead of Bruce Romack. In the No Box class, it was Kelsey Dufresne getting the quickest time down the 1/4 mile, finishing in front of Andy Tofteland. Dufresne also won the Box class, followed by runner-up Dustin Vipond. Rutherford added that the Raceway also hosted a pair of first-round loser Jackpot races. Mikayla Fedderly took the top spot in the All-Age group, while Sophia Closeky was the Junior Jackpot winner.Advertisement Northern Lights Raceway will be hosting arguably its biggest races of the year the weekend of August 19th and 20th, when the Division Six IHRA Team Finals will take place. Rutherford said that this past Sunday’s cancelled races have been rescheduled to take place on the 2nd weekend in September.
hdgviosa January 12, 2020 admin