Man Dies In High-Speed Drag Racing Crash In Noble

Saturday, March 24th 2012, 6:55 pm
By: News 9

A man was killed Friday night during a drag race at a Noble racetrack. Spectators say his car flipped five times in what is being called a bizarre and violent crash.

Fellow drivers tell News 9 the victim in the crash was racing his brother while their family was watching from the stands right before something went terribly wrong.

For two decades, racers have been flocking to Thunder Valley Raceway in Noble. And, for two decades, management says, there has never been a fatal wreck until Friday's tragedy.

"It's just a tragic event," Thunder Valley general manager Marcia Crook said.

Witnesses identified the driver as Jerry Vanderpool of Moore.

"He has been a long-time racer with us," Crook said. "He's been one of our regular Friday night racers for years and years."

Witnesses say the car flipped several times after veering off to the side of the racetrack. Thunder Valley says an ambulance was stationed nearby, but even the fast emergency response couldn't save the driver.

"When it went sideways, it started rolling," veteran racer "G" Mac said. "He got down [the track] halfway and all at once just went to the left and started flipping … that's what I heard."

Mac has been racing for nearly 60 years. He says it is a safe sport as long as safety is always a top priority.

"You just have to … have nice, [safe] equipment when you go out there," Mac said.

Thunder Valley says that along with OHP, the National Hot Rod Association will conduct an investigation to determine what went wrong. OHP says it will not comment on the case until troopers learn more from their investigation.