At a no-prep drag race in Texas called Airport Race Wars 2, a driver lost control with tragic consequences. Two children were killed as the car slammed into a crowd of spectators. Eight others were injured, some of them in serious condition according to authorities. The accident took place at Kerrville-Kerr County Airport, about 60 miles south of San Antonio.
What is a no-prep drag race?
A no-prep drag race means there is no compound used on the racing surface to promote traction and adhesion to the track. This was an organized event and was promoted by the Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau. It saw over 3,500 spectators in attendance. Over $8,000 in prizes were touted by the visitor’s bureau. The victims were two boys, six and eight years old.
Air ambulances arrived soon after the accident took place to take the injured to various local hospitals. Two people including a 46-year old woman were taken in critical condition. Besides the eight taken to various hospitals, a four-year-old boy and three-month-old girl were also taken to the hospital as a precaution.
The track was a 1/8th-mile-long strip with water-filled plastic retainers lining it. But the barriers stopped at the finish line. Any spectators beyond the finish were exposed to whatever issues happened from that point on. And yes, plenty of things can go wrong past the finish.
Why weren’t barriers set up past the finish line?
Without any stands past that point, many spectators took the racing in sitting on lawn chairs. Organizers on numerous occasions had to remind spectators to stay off of the sides of the track.
Kerrville Police told WYFF4 News, “The driver lost control and left the runway, crashing into parked vehicles and striking spectators who were observing the races.” They also stated that an investigation is being conducted and is ongoing. The 34-year-old driver was also taken to the hospital and was listed in stable condition. He was driving a 1990 Mustang.
From the Kerrville Police in an update, “The vehicle lost rear traction and began to slide to the left and the right on the track. The vehicle ultimately lost control, turning to the left and entering into a slide. It slid off of the runway being utilized as the raceway and slid into the grassy area where spectators were observing the race. The vehicle struck multiple spectators before striking a trailer and coming to a stop.”
Airstrips have been used for drag race events for 70 years
Many drag racing facilities started as abandoned or seldom-used airstrips immediately after WWII. Today, they are used to attract racers to minimize street racing. Though not always as safe as sanctioned race tracks, they mostly attract street cars or slower race cars. And safety inspections are required, usually from NHRA safety guidelines 70 years in the making.
Above certain speeds, drivers and their safety equipment need to be certified for safety specs and performance. But plenty of other conditions can cause a crash. From debris and oil on the track to slight track surface rises or dips and even crosswinds. As the investigation continues, more information will be available.