Charles Carpenter Coastal Plains summary

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (May 9, 2004) -- Charles Carpenter, owner and driver of "The World's Fastest '55" Chevrolet did something at Coastal Plains Dragway that he has not done in 28 years. He crashed his race car during the first round of...

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (May 9, 2004) -- Charles Carpenter, owner and driver of "The World's Fastest '55" Chevrolet did something at Coastal Plains Dragway that he has not done in 28 years. He crashed his race car during the first round of eliminations of the Quick 8 event held May 8 at the Jacksonville, N.C., facility.

Carpenter, uninjured in the accident, was on a single run because his opponent, Tori Cagle, had shut off at the starting line. Near the 100-foot mark Carpenter hit the wall hard, punching a hole nearly 15 feet long in the barrier. His vehicle then slid across the track into the left lane where Cagle was to have been.

"The car was in sort of a skid in which I had no control," Carpenter stated. "If Tori (Cagle) had been in his lane, I think we would have got into each other."

Carpenter's car sustained heavy damage in the incident; the front end and right side door were torn off and both right side tires went flat. Debris from both the car and wall were strewn across the track and return lane.

"I think we might have broken an axle, or possibly a spool," predicted Carpenter. "It was a great run. Nothing was giving me an indication that trouble was coming. I know it has been said so many times, but I just have to say that I hate it for our sponsors, like Embee Performance, Country Motors Trailer Sales, Buddy's Automotive and Custom AutoSound. Some of them have been with me through thick and thin, but never something like this.

"But I can say that the last time I wrecked my car, I had nothing left to fix. So, all in all, this is not nearly as bad as it could have been," said a dejected Carpenter.

Carpenter has been racing for 30 years, all in a '55 Chevrolet. He wrecked the first race car he owned in 1976 beyond repair. This car can be repaired, and Carpenter has already vowed to rebuild the vehicle.

Plans for Carpenter's return to competition are unclear. His car is the only '55 Chevrolet in Pro Modified competition so the body has to be custom built, a drawback to running the sole car of this type in competition. Limited funding may also slow the rebuilding process.

For more information on Carpenter and "The World's Fastest '55," visit www.fastest55.com.

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