Doug's Crash - changed our plans... November 2000  Photos Here

#1 Gail's Racing History  

 #2 OZ Trip 2001

 #3 C-5 Vette at Bonneville 2006 

#4 Doug's Racing History 

Australia 2007    

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Doug's Crash 

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I thought you might like to have an update on the P.O.P. Motorsports racing team and their plans to go to Australia. You may have already heard about the roll over that occurred at the November El Mirage meet on Saturday.  Doug Odom (designer/builder) was test driving a new C motor for our Modified Sports class.   He hit a soft area just before the timing lights and the car started to spin and then rolled several times before stopping upside down.  Apparently he was conscious the entire time and when the safety crews turned the car over he was able to get out.  The face shield on his helmet broke off and he was cut under one eye and his nose was smashed (though not broken) so there was a lot of blood.  The entire car held together well for the beating it took and we were all glad about that. Fortunately he was not injured in any other way and the design of the car and the roll cage did their job very well. The safety patrol and emergency staff response was great, everyone did a fabulous job, including the men who helped our crew remove the car from the course and cleaned up the mess so racing could continue. (A special thanks to Ken Walkey for racing me downs the center of the course to get me to the accident quickly. That ride was almost as scary and exciting as my own 202 run at Bonneville!)

            The paramedics did a good job of cleaning Doug up and checking for other injuries and then we took him to the hospital in Victorville.  After the nurse looked at him he had an X-ray and then we waited five hours for the doctor.  Doug finally got fed up and said “Let’s go!”.  So we went.  We drove the four hours home and left him at his empty house

(The family was at the local hospital awaiting the birth of Doug’s first grandchild, Douglas, born early the next morning). 

            I thought the Australia trip was off for sure until Doug called the next morning after inspecting the damage to the car.  He said he was feeling good, the car was repairable and let’s get to it. They started work on it that same day. Boy is he tough!  At that time there were only six weeks remaining until the car was scheduled to be loaded into a container for shipping.  It seemed an impossible task to repair and paint the car in that time but with little to no breaks, even over the Christmas and New Year holidays, the car was finished just two hours before being packed up and delivered to a place near Long Beach for its loading into the container on January 3rd. This would not have happened without the exceptional work of Doug Odom, Ron Kealon (body & paint), Al Phillips, Wayne Villard, and the help of Ray and Lee Rosson, Roy Mickey, and Dick Wilkins of Pismo Coast Nut and Bolt.             

            As is often the case, as soon as one hurdle is met, another one appears in the way, just as Dick Williams and Chuck Salmon warned us (both having raced at Lake Gairdner before. We have appreciated all of their helpful input). The loading crew insisted the car, the equipment, and boxes of supplies were “too long” for the 20-foot container. (I should mention here that during the rebuild Doug did lengthen the car by 18” for added stability, stretching the frame and refabricating a new nose, but it still should have fit by our calculations).  It was finally decided that a larger container had to be used and the next size up was 40 feet.  The time it took arranging for the switch took another day, right up to the noon cut off deadline to be loaded on the ship.  My husband watched the truck head off to the port with barely two hours to spare; breathing a sigh of relief mixed with apprehension.

            No longer than the four hours it took to get back home to the central coast, we received an email saying the ship had overbooked and our container was being off-loaded to take the next ship a week later.  Since the arrival dates are only estimates and you have to build in some extra days for later arrivals, we are very concerned that the container be able to make it in time.  The container has to be delivered to Melbourne first, then taken to Adelaide by train and await Customs inspection, then put on a truck to be taken to the south Australian outback where the Dry Lakes Racers Australia (DLRA) hold their yearly event on Lake Gairdner, a great salt lake bigger than Bonneville.

            Now we just have to wait, and track the ship‘s progress, and hope that all goes as planned.  The ship is actually headed to Singapore and the container will then change ships for Melbourne and anything can happen along the way to delay its arrival. One way or the other we will be in Australia, racing or not!  If the car doesn’t make it in time we are still going to go and watch.  Racing begins March 5th through the 9th and we’ll be living out of a motor home 75-100 miles from the nearest paved road and 200-300 miles from the nearest town. 

              The Aussies have already welcomed us into their club, including a write up about us in their own club newsletter.  We are bringing a variety of T-shirts, hats and mementos from SCTA and Bonneville to donate to their club’s fund-raising auction because they love anything from the U.S.A. This will certainly be an adventure to remember for a lifetime, even if we do not set any records.  But it is possible that I will be able to write to you after we return with the news that I was the first female to set a record over 200 MPH in Australia!  Happy New Year to you all. (written December 1999)

Photos of the crash