CREASY, RICHARDS WALK AWAY FROM NASTY TWO-CAR CRASH
Dale Creasy Jr. was as down as he'd ever been at the drag strip. The veteran independent has been on fire, suffered explosions, and once had a crash so bad that he was nearly crippled for life.
But, for Creasy, Friday's incident during the first qualifying session at the NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex had him wondering if the time had come for him to hang up the firesuit.
Creasy's TekPak-sponsored Funny Car made an abrupt turn left towards the centerline, and even though he was completely out of the throttle, the racecar's momentum drove him into the path of fellow Funny Car driver Dave Richards. As Creasy drifted into the path of Richards, their Funny Cars collided and bounced off of the guardwalls en route to sliding to a stop in the shutdown area.
Both drivers exited the cars under their own power, where they were checked out by onsite personnel and released with no apparent injuries.
Creasy was beside himself once he returned to the peacefulness of his pit area.
"It was going along and drifting the right," Creasy said. "Then, all of a sudden, it was gone. Then it was banging and clanging. It was all my fault. I went across the centerline. Maybe it's time to retire."
Richards was smiling, despite apparent discomfort, in his pit area following the accident. He was quick to absolve Creasy of any blame in the accident.
"I've always feared that could happen," Richard said. "I always feared as I drive myself, I'm always fearful of getting into somebody's lane. That's the scariest thing I could ever imagine happening. I could see him blowing up and catching on fire, and that's the stuff that doesn't scare me. It's when something like this happens and I'm glad I'm okay.
"I hope Dale's okay. And all I remember really was just all of a sudden the car's going down the track and boom, he's right in front of me. And after that, it's kind of a blur. I remember bouncing off the one wall and heading towards the other wall and getting on the brake and I had nothing and I had no steering and that's when I was just along for the ride."
Both cars were impounded by NHRA's Tech department immediately following the accident for a post-crash inspection. But that's of little concern for Richards; he's out for the weekend.
"We're a hundred percent done," Richards confirmed. "The car's destroyed. We don't have a backup car. And honestly, the way I'm feeling now, as sore as I am, I don't know if I'd want to get in the car and feel comfortable just now. Because like I said, when you first get out, I felt a hundred percent fine, but I can feel; I know I'm going to be a hurting dog tomorrow."
Creasy couldn't say whether something broke on his car, which may be challenging to determine at this point.
"I cannot say if something broke, but regardless, I always feel that I am in control of my car," Creasy said. "If it does something like that, I feel like I didn't do my job. It's sad because we don't have any money. All of our stuff is broken. Right now, all I can do is cry. Maybe it's something I couldn't have controlled. Right now, I am blaming me."
Though Richards was released by onsite medical personnel, he admits he felt discomfort when he returned to his pit area.
"It's getting sore by the minute," Richards said. "When I first got out of the car, I thought only my knee was bruised. But now I don't know; my rib cage is pretty banged up, but luckily, my head's fine. I bounced around there a little bit, but no headaches, no nothing. So, I think it was just hitting the wall that hard. I probably just did something to my ribs or something. But I mean, I can move my hands and my toes, move my feet. I can talk. I'm here."
Richards said he may go to a local hospital to get further checked out.
"The medical guy said he was going to come down, and I'll talk to him a little more," Richards said. "He is going to check out my rib cage and stuff, but I'll see what he tells me. I've never had a broken rib. All I hear is you just got to let it heal. So if he tells me to just deal with the soreness, then that's what I'll do."