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Jeff Gordon Fan
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://www.competitionplus.com/drag...sh-makes-tad-racer-austin-popular-in-hometown
Written by Bobby Bennett.
Top Alcohol Dragster racer Mike Austin doesn’t need a reminder of how lucky he is to be alive.
Austin, whose devastating crash at the NHRA O’Reilly Winternationals in Pomona, Ca was well chronicled, is a seasoned driver with two division championships, a Lucas OIL NHRA national event win as well as other driving accolades. No matter how good of a driver Austin has been, last Saturday he was along for the ride.
Luckily for him, a plethora of safety requirements by the NHRA proved to be his driver. The largest challenge Austin faces presently is in fielding the numerous phone calls and correspondences from the hometown contingent in his Medford, Oregon community.
“I can’t even answer all the phone calls,” said Austin. “The calls are coming from the people in my town and all over the U.S. I can’t believe all the compassion everybody has shown. For a little guy like me who hasn’t had much attention, it’s been amazing.”
Now Austin faces the daunting task of attempting a comeback, one which will be tough monetarily.
“I come from a small town and I’ve always been the underdog guy,” Austin admitted. “I barely had the equipment to get out there and race. I have an itty, bitty house. Everything I have, I’ve poured into the race car. I’ve been doing it for 25 years. I was getting closer and closer and now I’ve lost it all. I’m not going to get out the back-up car and go racing. There isn’t one.”
Austin might have lost his race car but is quick to credit safety improvements mandated by the NHRA as the leading reason he was able to live to tell about the experience.
That includes the mandatory use of a head and neck restraint, which has this year been expanded to the Comp, Top Dragster and Top Sportsman classes by the NHRA.
“There was a lot of different impacts and a lot of different angles,” said Austin. “I’m still here with no sore neck. I’m fortunate to walk away.”
Jim Downing, the president of HANS Performance Products, was pleased his product played a role in Austin’s testimony.
“This is another example of the HANS Device working in multiple impacts including those from almost every angle,” said Downing. “We get testimonials each week from competitors in all types of vehicles all over the world in many different types of accidents with a lot of different angles.”
Austin hopes to get another chance to drive. In the meantime, one positive about the accident has been an increase in business at his automotive repair shop due to his recent death-defying accident.
“It’s been extremely good for business,” he said of the attention brought by the accident. “My appointment book is jammed. I even had an older gentleman come by who handed me an envelope with $10 in it.” But what Austin really needs is a ride so he can return to drag racing. “I’m going to knock every door down I can to try to find the right situation.”
Gary Milrom contributed to this report
 

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Jeff Gordon Fan
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25,902 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
This accident was quite the topic at the Collectibles Show.This happened just before the rain came.The accident was quite dramatic.One of the photographers had photos he took.The accident was ugly.Very lucky.
 
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