Vandergriff fails to qualify

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by raceanoncr, Apr 1, 2007.

  1. raceanoncr

    raceanoncr Well-Known Member

    The UPS sponsored Top Fuel Dragster, driven by Bob Vandergriff did not make into one of the top 16 qualifying spots this weekend at the O'Reilly NHRA SpringNationals in Houston, TX.

    Qualifying was cut short due to heavy rains on Saturday during the day and into the night. Professional drivers were only given 2 chances to qualify whereas they usually have at least 4 or more.

    Vandergriff ran a 4.71 ET at 295.66 MPH to put him in the 17th slot.

    Tape delay coverage are supposed to start at 4 PM Eastern on ESPN2.:blush:
  2. wkmac

    wkmac Well-Known Member

    The whole weekend was kinda off kilter on many fronts and to see Joe Hartley make the finals just accented the point IMO. Watching Whit Bazemore get choked up and walk away from the interview after his 1st round win just showed the emotion and how strong an impact Eric had on everyone.

    Word is out now that they are looking real hard at computer data that suggests vibration levels off scale prior to Eric's car making the turn into the wall. Jerry Caminito survived a similar hard crash into the wall many years ago and the safety features now on the cars are much advanced. Thinking is that the vibration itself and not wall impact caused the closed head injuries that took Eric's life.

    I know tire failure has been mentioned and I assumed debris caused a flat, etc. but at speed the tire would shred like we've seen on Tfer's but I'm wondering could a condition exist that would cause tire shake at speed near the top end? You see tire shake at launch, at track transition points or as the clutch timers kick in but at full clutch at the top end? That's got to be a head scratcher for sure. JFR did the right thing in parking it for the weekend IMO.

    Any thoughts guys?
  3. moreluck

    moreluck golden ticket member

    Help.....I can't find the article about some racing person who just died recently. Does anyone remember where on the Browncafe it was located? It was a young guy with head injuries and he was well liked . Anybody know where it's at?
  4. OldUPSDriver

    OldUPSDriver New Member

    Eric Medlen, injured in testing after Gainseville, passed Friday after never regaining consciousness. The head injury he suffered was too much to overcome even after pressure was relieved on his skull.

    Drag racing has lost one of the best young stars.
    Castrol has set up another site to offer condolences to the family:

    All messages will be collected and combined into a scrapbook and given to the family
  5. moreluck

    moreluck golden ticket member

    Thankyou, Driver.
  6. raceanoncr

    raceanoncr Well-Known Member

    Wkmac, your thots are appreciated and well thot out.

    Joe Hartley's kinda a favorite of ours. His dad, Alan, runs a software company out of our hometown. Ran TAD a few yrs ago with an unconventional 2-engine car called "Double Vision" with the "Squid Brothers", as Bret Kepner labled them (Lou and Mike Cavalieri, twins) wrenching the team. Kurt Prososki was the driver then. Alan stepped up to a single injected motor and started putting Joe in the seat. Had some success then jumped to T/F. As you can see, rounds have eluded them until this w/e. Congrats!

    As for the tire shake...I think it could be a possiblity. I've been in slow cars that shook violently! I've been in fast cars that shook violently! I've never been in a F/C but have been in TA/FC for a few laps and have never been so shook in all my life, even after the 1,000 ft mark! I've been in A/ND that shook violently and I think it could happen. The latest theory now is that Eric suffered from severe head shake. We all know the brain doesn't like to be thrashed around the cavity without striking back, so (I'm not a Dr) I think it could be a possiblility due to what I experienced, which is not nearly as much as these professionals go thru.

    I lower my flag to Force Racing this week for their loss and their decision to not race out of respect.
  7. wkmac

    wkmac Well-Known Member

    Hartley and TAD. Hey I kinda remember that since you mentioned it. Thanks for throwing that out.

    I guess what surprised me about the tire shake at speed near the top end (witnesses report incident began at 3/4 track)was that by this time the tire has grown to full circumference and with the oerwhelming energy of centrifugal force the probability of tire shake to me just seemed so remote. I know JFR has brought in the black box expert who developed the data systems recorder for the IRL (sorry can't remember the name) in the hopes he can look at the data and determine something to help. I've not played around with drag cars for about 25 years but last I remember the data system of choice was Racepak. Are they still around? But then again, last time I was in it, the fuel cars ran 2 speed lenco's, single fuel pump and not the super high volume ones either and single mag's. Man I'm gettin old!

    I still love those 1970's years especially when it comes to FC's and the SwampRat ruled. Ironically, I remember when the name of John Force had about as much presence as Joe Hartley!

    Here's an article on the recent March Meet from Bakersfield that IMO wets the drag racing whistle. ::: Drag Racing Online ::: Bakersfield March Meet - 3/13/07

    Hey Moreluck,

    Checkout NHRA.COM for info and details on Eric. DragRacing Online had some photos of Eric's car after the crash and you could clearly see the the driver hoop completely intact and undamaged. The car didn't look that bad when compared to the condition Eric was in at the time. I guess out of respect they've pulled those photos but they do have some nice pics of Eric at the website.
  8. raceanoncr

    raceanoncr Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I see yer point about full circumference at full speed and we'll surely see a full report in the future. I guess I'm figgering that he might even have been knocked out before full speed. Nobody knows just how much your head can get knocked around at severe tire shake, which usually happens at or near the first of the run that some have actually been knocked out in the first 1,000 ft.

    I'm certainly not speculating as to if this was the case, I'm merely saying it has happened before and it is certainly possible. I know many teams have already taken stock in the head loops, even some that used the McKinney chassis to send them back for some retro-fitting in that area.

    Not to belabor the point, this motorsport is the quickest and fastest on the planet. Unfortunately, mishaps will occur even deaths. I really hate to see it but I guess it's gonna happen.

    Wkmac, PM me and tell me bout some of yer racing experiences. Would love to hear em. Been in it here since, at least 64 (that's the year, not my age, although both are getting real close now).
  9. wkmac

    wkmac Well-Known Member

    A teleconference transcript from yesterday with JFR. Very informative about the entire situation.

    NHRA News: John Force Racing has tentative plans to compete at The Strip in Las Vegas (4/10/2007)

    The level of side to side oscillation is just shocking to me but knowing now it was way more than simple tire shake makes more sense. I happen to see Driving Force last night and it's hard to see Eric and realize he's gone.