Bruce Kwartler here.
First off -- thanks very much for all the well wishes!!
The most important thing is that I escaped a 100 mph + crash without so much as a scratch. I guess we take forgranted just how fast these cars really are. I did not think a low 12 -- high 11 second car could get into such a crash. The car had just ran an 11.91 pass the week before at 115.5.
I am not sure how old the flywheel was. I part out and fix so many of these cars -- typically when I change my clutch I grab another good looking flywheel from the bunch of many I have and have that one stepped. What I can say about the flywheel was it was a stock DSM 6 bolt flywheel with about 115 to 130K on it -- those are most of the cars I buy. It had been stepped to .610 about 2 or 3 months ago. The car was running an ACT 2600 clutch that was 2 or 3 months and about 1,500 miles and 20 or so drag passes old.
One thing is for certain -- I will not race an AWD DSM again without an SFI certified aftermarket flywheel and one of Harry's scattershields!! I have seen these a few times -- and that is the one I want. Harry sign me up for one!
Here is a rundown on the incident.
It was a very windy day -- When I got to the track -- driving through the gate to pay -- the person in the DSM in back of me says the gate almost blows closed on the Galant. Maybe trying to warn me supernaturally to stay away
Then once I am at the track -- I open my hood to drain my fuel from the fuel rail -- and the strong winds blow my hood up onto the windshield -- bending the back corners of the hood -- I was pissed!
But I put everything together and myself and my friends check the latch a few times to make sure it was closed.
Get the car ready for its first pass -- get a decent launch 1.82 -- and the car feels pretty good -- the 88 mph 1/8th mile speed is the
same I have gotten before on a few 12.3 passes at 112 mph.
After shifting into 4th gear at about 7,700 RPM -- I hear the loudest BOOM!! I have ever heard racing. Now I have been in two cars that have blown engines (Starion & RWD Talon) on fast runs -- and this is MUCH worse.
The BOOM also forces my hood up in front of the windshield -- it crashes into the glass sunroof on the roof and glass showers down on me. I also heard something bouncing and hitting under the car turned out to be transfer case).
The rest seemed to go in slow motion -- as I could not see -- I was just trying to tap the brakes gently to slow the car down. Then once the coolant and oil that was leaking everywhere got on the tires -- the car started to skate to the wall -- I tried to keep the car straight -- but the side of the front bumper hit the wall -- spun the car around -- and then the back bumper hit the wall (the car stil moving).
Inside the car I was hoping the car would not hit the wall so it would not be damaged! I was not thinking about myself at all. The car did hit the wall once on the side of the front bumper -- then spun and hit the side of the rear bumper. (The people in the control tower gave Mike Rizzoti's son the timeslip later on and they said I crossed the quarter mile beams at 13.2 at 80 MPH in reverse!
Once the car came to a stop -- I shook the glass off myself -- and undid my seatbelts -- and got out of the car quick. The car was smoking and I was not sure if it would catch fire or not -- It did not. I got out and saw the car was facing the starting line. I also saw my transfer case about 25 feet down the track. I was not sure what had happened at first -- I thought maybe my hood was not latched good at first -- then I saw the transfer case and thought maybe that had locked up. Then I saw the huge hole through the hood and saw the transmission blown to bits and all the other damage and knew the flywheel had exploded.
After I got out of the car -- the EMS workers took me into the ambulance and tested my blood pressure and pulse and looked into my eyes with lights and asked me questions. I was without a scratch.
I want to thank very much everyone who helped me out that night -- Jimmy Read -- James Lombardo --and everyone else who pushed the car onto Mike's trailer -- and especially Mike Rizzotti who went back to his house and got his trailer and trailered the Galant back to his house.
The turbo ate something -- probably needs a rebuild -- the custom Indycore radiator is trashed -- the transmission bellhousing is trashed -- the head I am sure is trashed (the place where the waterneck bolts on is obliterated! -- and the ears that the transmission screws into on the block are gone!
Good news is -- I am going to fix the Galant -- I already bought a new front bumper cover and grille and sunroof -- and a few people from New England DSM have other spare Galant parts that will help me out. I just need to put together a new block and head. The body was not damaged that much. Just bumper covers and sunroof and hood. The intercooler is nicked -- but I think it is okay. The BR580 turbo ingested something - so I will have that rebuilt. I also need to get a new radiator. I will replace what is damaged and have the car painted over the winter.
It's not like I have another full-time big- ticket race car that takes up all my time and money!
13.2 backwards ...