JACKSON DRAGWAY TRACK OWNER HAS MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS
Scott Wood admits in all of his years in drag racing; he's never seen anything like what transpired Saturday evening at Jackson Dragway.
Wood, the owner of the strip located in Western Tennessee, was watching as two Outlaw Pro Mods prepared to stage. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of a late model Pontiac, speeding at an estimated 70-miles per hour, headed straight for the two racers on the starting line. The car appeared to be on a collision course for the car in the left lane. At the last minute, drifted right before striking the concrete protective barrier which protects the Christmas Tree.
"The individual appeared to be under the influence of something. He drove through the end of the field, almost ran over a racer," Wood explained. "He then jumped a ditch and drove onto the racecourse. I want to believe he thought he was on the highway. He came down the drag strip at a high rate of speed.
"I can't say for sure, but I believe it was more than 70 miles per hour. He came right down the center of the track and took out all of the [timing] blocks. He veered over and appeared to be headed directly to the left lane. We had two race cars sitting on the starting line, prepared to race.
"When I saw what was going on, I instructed my started to turn on the starting line hazard lights, and I started clearing race personnel off of the starting line. At the last minute, [the driver of the car] turned left and hit the concrete barrier which protects the starting line crew. Nobody got hurt but him."
There is no update on the condition of the unidentified driver, who was life-flighted to a local hospital with unknown injuries. Woods estimates as many as 1,000 people or more witnessed the incident.
The damage to the track's timing system was substantial to the point that Wood had no choice but to cancel the balance of the event. There is no timetable at this point as to when the track can reopen.
Wood hasn't been able to determine the extent of the damage but believes the cost to repair could be more than $10,000.
"I cannot begin to tell you how much I lost in revenue and labor from last night," Wood said. "I never really thought about any of that until I started talking with the police. Then I began to realize, not only did I lose the tree, but also a drum and a half of glue, well over $1000 in labor, and I've given everybody their money back. I've already lost thousands and thousands of dollars at this point."
Wood and track co-owner Sharon Singleton will begin picking up the pieces today, but their biggest question remains, "Why did this happen?"
A day later, they have more questions than answers. Wood admits he probably won't even know the driver's identity until later in the week.
"This is an unfortunate incident we wish would not have happened. We incurred a lot of damage to the track's timing equipment. But miraculously none of our team was injured.
"I know that there was nothing we did wrong as a track, and our safety and race personnel handled every detail as best they could. We've reviewed our track policies, and there was nothing we could have done to prevent this.
The date Nov. 1, 1974, is seared in Darrell Gwynn’s memory. Gwynn, then 13, was standing with a group of people in the staging lanes at Miami-Hollywood (Fla.) Speedway Park. In a flash, the area turned into a crime scene. FULL STORY - https://t.co/We1zYf5HoH pic.twitter.com/YV1z16NUqA— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) July 24, 2019