MADISON, IL (June 24, 2001) -- Paul Romine experienced two of the worst fires ever seen in a rear engine Top Fuel dragster this past weekend at the NHRA Sears Craftsman Nationals near St. Louis, MO. After qualifying with a season best...
MADISON, IL (June 24, 2001) -- Paul Romine experienced two of the worst fires ever seen in a rear engine Top Fuel dragster this past weekend at the NHRA Sears Craftsman Nationals near St. Louis, MO.
After qualifying with a season best 4.70-seconds at 310 miles-per-hour Friday night, Saturday morning Romine's CARQUEST Auto Parts dragster experienced a fire in the third qualifying session that burned his left hand.
The CARQUEST team rebuild the dragster for a round one match up Sunday with Doug Kalitta and was one a good pass when the #2 cylinder broke a valve, resulting in a torched head with the resulting pressure pushing out the end rail gasket between the intake manifold and the block. This caused a fire that went into the driver's cockpit, which is a low pressure area in a Top Fuel Dragster.
Romine was engulfed in flames from the hands to the helmet. After a quick fire, the fire faded, then again filled the cockpit with fuel and oil. Crossing the finish line at 4.814-seconds at only 268 miles-per-hour, Romine tried to stop the car while exiting at the same time. The NHRA Safety Safari were on the scene as Paul exited the burning dragster, in which he couldn't see to get out of due to a burned visor on his helmet. Romine's fire suit was burned with the outer layer burned away in several places and his gloved burned through with him suffering second degree burns to both hands.
Although his hands are burned, Romine plans to make the IHRA CARQUEST Empire Nationals July 13-15 near Rochester, NY. Romine will miss this weekend's match race with Shirley Muldowney in Darlington, SC.