NHRA Pro Modified star Jeremy Ray was uninjured in a wild single-car crash Sunday at the NHRA Heartland Nationals in Topeka, Kansas, the first of three on-track incidents that occurred in an expensive day of drag racing at the Heartland Motorsports Park.
Ray, from Lugoff, South Carolina, who tunes and drivers his own Carolina Kingpin 1963 Corvette, rarely makes mistakes on or off the racetrack, utilizing consistency to make his lower-funded operation highly competitive in the world’s toughest Pro Modified racing arena. Winner of the NHRA FallNationals a season ago, Ray has been squarely inside the top 10 in the standings this season.
While doing more with less has made Ray a fan-favorite in the NHRA Pro Mod ranks, it also means a devastating accident like what he endured Sunday at Topeka could derail his title hopes, if not his entire season.
Ray, who qualified ninth with a 5.87, was racing Erica Enders in the first pair out in the opening round of eliminations when his bright orange Corvette drifted left out of the groove. Intent on getting the round win, Ray motored on through the middle of the track when his machine took an abrupt turn across the racetrack onto its passenger-side, passing just behind Enders’ Camaro and striking the guardrail roof-first. The damage, as can be inspected via the super-slow-motion footage from Fox Sports 1, was well beyond what could reasonably be repaired in one week’s time for next weekend’s Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol — heartbreaking in itself for a racer sitting seventh in the standings.
Fortunately, Ray climbed from the battered Corvette under his own power and will race again another day.