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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-19-2016, 07:24 AM Thread Starter
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Thunderbird Driver Died

Does anyone know this gentleman, Blake Williams?

Died racing at Yellow Belly Drag Strip, Grand Prairie, Texas.

The reason I ask is, he was driving a Thunderbird.

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-19-2016, 06:57 PM
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Don't know him but here's what I found He was 23 years old and driving a Cougar not a Tbird and ... blame it on the Mustang ....

So sad ...



Burleson man dies in explosive crash at Grand Prairie-area drag strip | Accidental Death | Dallas News

It says here he was ejected from the vehicle which makes me wonder how that happened?

http://www.accidentreportsnow.com/ac...-grand-prarie/

Here's a good picture of his Cougar.

http://www.dragzine.com/news/23-year...t-texas-strip/

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-19-2016, 07:31 PM
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That's not a Cougar, that's clearly an 83-86 Thunderbird. Don't know him, but very sad no less.

-Matt
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-19-2016, 10:40 PM
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Couple guys I worked with know him. He was trapping 140 in 1/8 without a cage.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-20-2016, 12:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sik97bird View Post
Couple guys I worked with know him. He was trapping 140 in 1/8 without a cage.
It sounds like he went faster than he should have without proper safety equipment and I'm sorry this guy died but that sounds like an exageration. I'd believe it more if you had an idea of the ET.
Wallace Racing - 1/8th Stats to 1/4 Stats Calculator
140MPH => 173MPH

Wallace Racing HP Calculator For 1/8th Mile
Assuming 3000LB (being very generous and assuming he lightened the car enough to account for his weight), that car would need 1200+ HP to go that fast. Possible but not probably and certainly not smart.

http://www.wallaceracing.com/et-hp-mph.php
140HP in the quarter = 676HP. Significantly more believable


Either way, this is very sad. There's not much of that Cougar left.
http://www.star-telegram.com/news/lo...115599218.html

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-20-2016, 12:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S4gunn View Post

There's not much of that Cougar left.
Wasn't much to begin with, because it's a Tbird!

Not to nitpick in a topic this grim but if this happened to me I'd like the reports of my automotive labor of love to be right!
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-20-2016, 06:21 PM
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S4gunn just relaying what I was told.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-20-2016, 06:42 PM
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Not hard to believe, looking at the pic of the car.

A cage might have helped; I doubt it.

Hell, from the pic, it could have had one...

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-20-2016, 08:10 PM
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From Local DFW CBS
Quote:
Witnesses at the track said that Williams was not new to racing and was well-known around the racing community, but that his car did not have a roll cage

If all else fails get a bigger hammer!

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 08:31 AM
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After seeing the remains of the car towed off I have to say I believe, cage or no cage that wreck would have been unsurvivable.

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Best 1/4: 1,320 nanoseconds @ 670,616,629.2 miles per hour

"There isn't that much difference anymore between spacecraft, aircraft and modern automobiles..." - Keith Henry, NASA's Langley Research Center
See a list of my real mods and pictures of my car HERE. The true performance of my car was made possible by the Carolinas Crew Chief, RobertP at Rob's Tire & Auto
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trunk Monkey View Post
After seeing the remains of the car towed off I have to say I believe, cage or no cage that wreck would have been unsurvivable.
Disagree. It all depends on the level of cage this guy would have built.
- A (mostly cosmetic) rollbar/4pt cage would not have helped much considering the level of damage to the front end.
- Even a 6 point cage would have offered minimal additional support.
- To survive this crash (not walk away but survive), I'm willing to bet that an 8 point cage with a full halo bar and gussets would have increased his survivability dramatically.

Have you seen the crashes taken on hillclimbs like Pikes Peak? These cars literally fall off the mountain doing 100MPH+ now that it's fully paved.

Both guys survived this crash and it looks like one even walking away. Crazy.

Bottom Line: if you are going to do something stupid, invest in safety equipment first before go faster bits (suspension, brakes, bushings, cage, etc).
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Last edited by S4gunn; 11-21-2016 at 10:28 AM.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 10:39 AM
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Exactly, this is specific scenario cages - NOT rollbars - are intended for. You need to take into account that factory crash structure and safety devices are only tested between 35-40 mph, and primarily in a straight up frontal impacts(the Fox chassis predates offset) and T-bones. Past that you're rolling the dice, and crumple zones begin to work against you(literally).

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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XR7-4.6 View Post
Exactly, this is specific scenario cages - NOT rollbars - are intended for. You need to take into account that factory crash structure and safety devices are only tested between 35-40 mph, and primarily in a straight up frontal impacts(the Fox chassis predates offset) and T-bones. Past that you're rolling the dice, and crumple zones begin to work against you(literally).
Another item to worry about would be even if you have a full cage w/ padding near your head, that bar is often fairly close to your head.
Therefore, you need to wear a helmet while driving it on the street. I've done it when my tbird was street legal and I needed to take it to/from some places (or test it by doing my 100mi RT daily commute). Sure, you look stupid but it's better than having your cage kill you.


Also, if this guy was thrown from the car, I'm curious how properly anchored his seat belts were.
The cynic in my wonders if he was using the stock seat belts (properly mounted) or some sketchily mounted 4pt harness on his stock streets (which are a bad idea even they look properly racecar -- you can submarine and get a lethal amount of pressure put on your soft squishy gut bits).

Also, Hans/Necksgen/Zamp head and neck restraints. It's inconvenient, kind of expensive (except for the Zamp which is now at the $350 price point vs ~$500) and limits your visibility (you cannot swivel your head as freely as before -- obviously). However, having been forced to buy one now, I don't know why I waited so long to protect my neck. Donuts dont' do squat for safety (although they do make things comfortable if you live your life in your car more than a 1/4 mi / 9 sec at a time.

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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 03:06 PM
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I made that statement because he hit the wall. Rolling down a mountain is not the same as hitting a wall. Virtually no amount of safety apparatus can prevent death by sudden deceleration. Remember Dale Earnhardt?

You're spot on about the Hans device.

Based on the photos I'd say he was using the stock seat-belt. The accident reports also mentioned a fire. So, Nomex would have also been necessary. Either way it sounds like his car was woefully under equipped for the times that it was capable of.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trunk Monkey View Post
I made that statement because he hit the wall. Rolling down a mountain is not the same as hitting a wall. Virtually no amount of safety apparatus can prevent death by sudden deceleration. Remember Dale Earnhardt?

You're spot on about the Hans device.

Based on the photos I'd say he was using the stock seat-belt. The accident reports also mentioned a fire. So, Nomex would have also been necessary. Either way it sounds like his car was woefully under equipped for the times that it was capable of.
Dale Earnheart wasn't ejected from the car either, that puts a whole nother variable into this and that would not have occurred with a full cage and racing harness. Not to say it's survivable one way or another, no safety system is 100% effective, but at speeds like this built-in crash absorption is not an option.


I'd never cage a street driven car, no matter how fast it is personally. The dangers the cage presents outweigh the positives in the hopefully unlikely instance it will get used.

-Matt
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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 06:20 PM
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I was told years ago (while driving to get a new windshield) that wearing a helmet in a car on the street would get me arrested.

He was not happy, but he calmed down when he saw the broken glass and missing windshield.

He said that wearing a helmet in a street car was cause to believe I planned to drive recklessly.


Which I would Never Do; with broken glass being blown everywhere, lol.


I think dude hit something solid enough to tear the car apart; unless the car is built around the cage like an F1 car, that's just not survivable.

BTW, Have you guys seen what holds the stock seatbelts in? It's a 12mm fine thread bolt into threaded sheetmetal on both ends...
The sheetmetal is designed to deform to add cushion, but that impact would have torn the mounts out for sure.
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-21-2016, 07:09 PM
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All the reasons listed above is why my car will be done when it gets in the 12s. Some sacrifices I'm not willing to make to the car.

If all else fails get a bigger hammer!

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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-22-2016, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grog6 View Post
I was told years ago (while driving to get a new windshield) that wearing a helmet in a car on the street would get me arrested.

He was not happy, but he calmed down when he saw the broken glass and missing windshield.

He said that wearing a helmet in a street car was cause to believe I planned to drive recklessly.


Which I would Never Do; with broken glass being blown everywhere, lol.


I think dude hit something solid enough to tear the car apart; unless the car is built around the cage like an F1 car, that's just not survivable.

BTW, Have you guys seen what holds the stock seatbelts in? It's a 12mm fine thread bolt into threaded sheetmetal on both ends...
The sheetmetal is designed to deform to add cushion, but that impact would have torn the mounts out for sure.
I believe the reports say he hit a tree in the runout area.
23-Year Old Racer Killed In Overnight Crash At Texas Strip

Q: It makes you wonder, what kind of crap ass track puts a tree in the runout area of a track?
A: This one.

https://goo.gl/maps/fWXeyPg1Grz

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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-22-2016, 12:44 PM
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It's pretty sad how his wife and kid will be left. I hope he had good insurance(Life). That might be unlikely if he was driving a big hotrod without good safety equipment.

Let it be a warning for any other Tbird enthusiasts here on the forums.

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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-22-2016, 04:34 PM
No, Mr. Lemmywinks, No!!!

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My life insurance and AD&D specifically excludes Racing; they offer separate coverage for that.



We are Eggs; remember that.

I saw a map of the old racetrack that was across the street from where I live now, and it was even worse than this one; in addition to the trees, if you overran the turn to the return lane, you hit the river.

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
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Truth Isn't Truth. - Rudy Giuliani, 2018 Award winner, “Most Outrageous Diversion” by MSNBC for this quote

Last edited by Grog6; 11-23-2016 at 05:19 PM.
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