Drag racer escapes unscathed after his car crashed and erupted into flames

A death-defying drag racer has a miraculous escape after his monster car crashed and burst into flames during a race.

Dramatic video footage shows the moment Kevin Chapman's car spun out of control and crashed into the track walls at the Santa Pod Raceway in Northants.

Shocked crowds looked on as the vehicle caught fire and ended up on its roof just seconds after he took off in the 10,000 horsepower Funny Car Cup series.

The car's safety parachutes were deployed and its bodywork fell off its Ford Mustang body.

Amazingly, defending champion Kevin climbed out without any injuries and walked away from the crash to generous applause from the crowd.

Early investigations into the crash, which happened on Saturday, May 28, suggest a loose body panel may have jammed the car's fuel injector mechanism.

Safety equipment in the car - including a roll cage, multi-layered fire suit and crash helmet - was thought to have protected him from the worst of the impact.

Kevin told local TV news after the event: "When I left the start line the car veered to the right.

"I came off the throttle to pull the car straight, then reapplied the power to continue the run but unfortunately the right rear tyre had more traction than the left and turned me hard left into the wall.

"These machines have 10,000 bhp and are very unforgiving. As you can see, it was a huge crash - but I walked away totally uninjured."

A spokesman for Santa Pod Raceway in Wellingborough said: "We are thankful for the high safety standards maintained in drag racing which saved driver Kevin Chapman from harm in the accident.

"Kevin was thoroughly checked over at our medical centre and found to be uninjured, for which we are all grateful.

"Kevin's next race in the Funny Car was scheduled for an event in July but it is unlikely that the car will be repaired in time.

" We all wish Kevin and his team well and look forward to their return to the track whenever they are ready."

Funny Cars, developed in the USA in the 1960s, can reach 300mph in just four seconds.

The weekend saw the second round of Santa Pod's Funny Car Cup series taking part at the racetrack in Wellingborough. Kevin had previously won the first round at Easter.

Santa Pod Raceway, dubbed the European home of drag racing, is a quarter-mile drag racing strip that was converted from a disused US Air Force base in 1966.

It gets its name from combing Santa - as a nod to Southern California - and Podington, the name of the airfield and closest village.

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