Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals
Bartone survives harrowing spin, flip and roll in sandtrap
Bartone of Long Island City, N.Y., was medically cleared and released by the NHRA emergency staff on duty at the scene.
“We made a halfway decent pass,” said Bartone. “The car went to about 1,100 feet and people at the far end told me they saw red flames coming out of it, meaning the motor was going away. For nighttime qualifying, my job is was to drive it to the finish line. I went to hit the parachute handles and wound up bending them in my hand. I went up to hit them again and they bent more. At that time I knew I was in trouble, so I went to the brakes. The car slid quite a ways and then turned sideways before it went into the sand trap and rolled a couple of times.”
On Bartone’s opening lap in the first session of qualifying, earlier in the day, he recorded a time of 7.393 seconds after losing traction towards the far end of the track under the rather warm summer afternoon conditions.
“The lap before I was just making comments to the NHRA about how many harnesses we have on and it was on safety this and safety that,” said Bartone. “We were so strapped in and it seemed we had so much stuff on us that I could not even get out of the car.
“One lap later, I’m eating my words. The car went over twice and I was buckled in my seat and didn’t move, didn’t get thrown around and knew exactly what was going on the whole time. That was the first time I ever got out of a car upside down. It wasn’t a good feeling!”
After the tremendous crash, Bartone was back in his pit investigating and inspecting his race car. After surmising the damage done, he felt the car was repairable and that they would be racing on Saturday.
“I’m fine and nothing hurts,” he said. “My wrist is a little banged up and sore, but that’s it. Other than that, my hat’s off to NHRA. The safety inside the car is incredible. My body went through something that looked wild when you see it on TV. We were lucky and away we go. Hopefully, the chassis is fine because we can use it tomorrow to compete this weekend.
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