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Fall Nationals weekend goes by nearly accident free

NHRA racing made its pit stop in Ennis at the Texas Motorplex this past weekend and thankfully there was nothing terrible to report in regard to any accidents on and off the track.
If you have followed the Fall Nationals here in Ennis at all this year or last you will have most likely heard about the dreadful crash between drivers Kenny Bernstein and John Force, who suffered a compound fracture of the left ankle, ligament and tendon damage in his right knee and broken bones in his hands, fingers and toes. Force underwent seven hours of reconstructive surgery and spent 27 days at Baylor University Medical Center before being released to continue his rehabilitation at his California home.
Force returned this year to the track in the same way he left it in 2007 in an Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter. As part of Force’s grandiose return to the Motorplex he showed off safety improvements adapted to the track since his crash and the accident earlier this year that claimed the life of driver Scott Kalitta.
Since I don’t follow racing one bit I couldn’t tell you if the safety additions had anything to do with the accident-free event. If it didn’t then we just happened to get lucky in that there were no vehicle malfunctions or driver errors to cause a wreck.
Another lucky aspect from the weekend was there were very few DWIs reported. Let’s be honest, racing and alcohol get fans revved up like gasoline and motor oil do an engine.
Looking over the police reports during the days NHRA races were taking place, only one DWI was called in and even that was nowhere near the Motorplex, which means it might not have any correlation to the races. Plenty of public intoxication arrests were made out at the drag strip, but at least race fans made arrangements to have a designated driver on their way home from the event.
All in all I would say it was a successful week of racing with no upsetting news of race-induced or alcohol-induced accidents. In fact, there was a heartbreaking incident of two deaths in a motor vehicle accident that had nothing to do with the Motorplex racing event. It is a tragedy that two 17-year-olds were killed when trying to turn on to FM 879 their vehicle was hit in the side by an oncoming suburban. My prayers go out to the Bartolic and Crawford families. I couldn’t imagine losing a family member at such a young age.
I hope this year’s trend of safety improvements at the Motorplex track and the lack of drunk driving reports is one that is repeated for many years to come. It seems everyone had a great time at the Fall Nationals and fans factored in the responsibility to designate a sober driver to and from the event.

Matt Cook is a staff writer at the Ennis Daily News and can be reached at matt@ennisdailynews.com

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Posted by on Sep 25 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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