Top NHRA Drag Racer Kenny Delco Walks Away From Violent Crash at 196 MPH

He covered the quarter-mile in just 6.9 seconds before losing control.

Kenny Delco Crashes NHRA Car July 2019
YouTube - NHRA

Seasoned pro stock driver Kenny Delco in the National Hot Rod Association’s league was involved in a harrowing crash at this year’s Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals. Video footage caught his run at the Bandimere Speedway in Denver, but also the moments leading up to the accident that caused Delco to roll his car three times. 

Delco had reportedly just made his leading qualifying run of just 6.972 seconds for the quarter-mile sprint when he suddenly lost control of his dragster. Thankfully, Delco walked away seemingly uninjured and under his own power.

“I’m not sure how I did it, but I got out without even taking down the window net,” Delco told reporters for NHRA’s verticals. “I guess when you’re upside down, you just want to get out as soon as you can. I had a little scratch on my side, and I was dirty from all the dust and bits of carbon fiber flying around. When I got to the hotel and cleaned up, the facecloth was all dirty. Otherwise, I really feel good. I don’t think it hit as hard as it looked.”

It's unclear what actually happened, but one YouTube user noticed that his parachute failed to deploy properly. From the video, it also looks like the chute deployment somehow caused the rear wheels to lock up or force the back end of the car to kick out, leading up to the loss of control. Before the crash, Delco topped out at an eye-watering speed of 196.27 mph.

After race authorities investigated the crash, it was later found that cables for Delco’s parachute on his Camaro dragster got caught up in the wheels, causing the back end to lose grip.

“We have new brakes on that car and it just locked up on me,” Delco continued in his interview. “Stupid. It was just stupid on my part. The brake pedal was a little hard and about the third time I pumped it, I was sideways and there was no saving it. I’ve made runs where the chutes didn’t come out and I’ve done it at places that are shorter than this one. I’ve never had a problem before. Normally, the front tires lock up and the car just slides. This time, it was the back tires, and it came around before I even knew what was happening.”

“I’m not about to quit yet. That’s not my style,” he said.