Best of 2019: The Driver That Drove The Wrong Way Up Jackson Dragway And Crashed Into The Tree

Best of 2019: The Driver That Drove The Wrong Way Up Jackson Dragway And Crashed Into The Tree

(Lead Photo: Will Kinnard) Lohnes once said that one of his biggest fears at a racetrack was to see a car coming back up the strip towards the tower. As someone who is often around the area between the tower and the starting line for various reasons, I fully concur…the idea of any car heading back towards the tower that isn’t an exhibition setup where that’s part of the program is enough to run my blood ice-cold. Regardless if the scene is like a no-prep where there are tons of people at the burnout area or if it’s just the starter and two crew with the cars, there’s only one way that scene can end…and that was realized at Jackson Dragway in Tennessee last night.

The details are thin on “why”, but as far as what happened, it’s known: while running the Open Outlaw Racing night, an individual in a Pontiac Grand Prix managed to jump the ditch at the end of the track, missing a car that was coming off of the shutdown area, before hauling major ass up the centerline of the track. The driver knocked out every timing cone before going full-on into the Christmas tree at highway speeds. We know that the individual was airlifted from the track for medical care, though at press time we don’t know the extent of their injuries. We know that they were the only person injured at the track. We cannot confirm at this time whether or not two other people in the car bailed out when the driver first went for the track, and we have no confirmation that the driver was either on a substance, nor that a substance was found in the car. The event had to be cancelled as a result.

Being close to the racing surface is dangerous enough. There are multitudes of reasons why you sign the waiver when you come through the gate and plenty more as to why access to the racing surface is restricted. But this incident is so far out of left field that even those controls wouldn’t have helped if anything had been different. Had the Grand Prix driver not gone for the tree, there were two cars ready to stage and two drivers who couldn’t have gotten out fast enough. You’ll see how fast track staff and crew moved once they figured out what was happening. We know many people who for one reason or another, will be in this area of the strip on any given night…this is why you keep your head on a swivel and are fully aware of your surroundings.

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13 thoughts on “Best of 2019: The Driver That Drove The Wrong Way Up Jackson Dragway And Crashed Into The Tree

  1. jerry z

    I would like the know what the back story on this one. Basically racing back up the track and ramming the tree. Never saw this in my 45 yrs of watching drag racing.

  2. stitchdup

    The track crew showed how professional they are, they deserve all the credit if the a-hat survives. It just goes to show that all the training they do pays off

  3. Pizzandoughnuts

    You know I remember on a episode of Street Outlaws, where Big Chief said he always looks over his shoulder, just in case a car comes up the wrong way.
    This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen!

  4. bob

    What I want to know is why weren’t the usual 400 people standing between the cars on the starting line???

    What kind of outlaw no prep 3 inch tire race doesn’t allow the entire crowd on the starting line? What a rip off…

    1. Bruce

      You might want to check again. I saw last night all over Facebook that he died, but this morning the local news stations (local to the track) are reporting he is still alive and has now been charged with a DUI, 8 counts of aggravated assault and an open container violation. They usually don\’t charge dead people.

  5. todd berry

    correction you are correct – just proves – God loves a drunk. I got my information from a racer there guess he just looked dead – probably will wish he were by the time this is all over

  6. Ted

    I would have liked to see the crew and the racers drag him out of the car and finish him off. Thank someone higher up than me that nobody on the track got killed.

    Just when you think stupid has taken a day off,……..nope.

  7. Gary

    I’ve been racing since 1963. Never seen someone do that before. WTF is wrong with people today?

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