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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Too Close for Comfort

By Ralph Crosby

Johnny Barb's Camaro, one hour before the accident.I was down a hundred yards past the finish line taking pictures of Miller's way cool 37 popping the chute. I had just put the camera away and was sitting in the grass, picking up the bag and water bottle. Johnny Barb was just launching his Outlaw Street Camaro and making his way down the track. He was almost to the lights. I was watching him and walking towards the grandstands an eighth of a mile away. The Camaro bobbled and it started to turn sideways. A second later it was barrel rolling down the edge of the track, dirt and grass spewing into the air. 

I started running towards the flipping car and jumped over the retaining wall. The driver in the other lane came rushing out of his car and sprinted across the track. The Camaro rolled to a stop upside down. The other driver hit the battery kill and I grabbed the harness undid it and we pulled Barb from the wrecked race car. The rescue crew was rolling up the track toward us. I held John's head as straight and steady as I could. I took his hand and asked if he could feel me holding it he squeezed it tight. By God's grace alone, Johnny Barb didn't have a scratch on him! The paramedics came up and told us we did a good job and that they now had it. 

I sat back against the retaining wall and caught my breath. A rescue worker kneeled down and asked me if I was OK. I said. "Why?" He said, "You look like a ghost." I watched them flip the car over and attend to John, who only seemed to have had his pride and pocketbook injured. I climbed over the wall and walked up the return road. I had lost interest in shooting the rest of the show and decided to head home. I shook Johnny's hand. He looked at me and I knew he was grateful to be alive. I took a few pictures of his wrecked race car to send him someday. Here is the Camaro less than an hour before it rolled. This was a tribute to witnessing a well made roll cage save a life.


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