Terry Poore of Seymour, Tennessee went for a wild ride down the front stretch of 411 Motor Speedway (TN) this past Saturday night. The driver of the No. 2 Dirt Late Model was along for the ride as his Sportsman Late Model flipped in the air five times before slamming down onto the racing surface.
Thankfully, proper safety equipment and a well-built race car allowed Poore to walk away from the incident. He spoke to Speed51.com by phone on Monday evening and explained the vicious crash.
“We took the green flag, me and the boy in the 73 car just kind of just touched a little bit, wheel touched. We try to always leave enough room for the guy to go down the straightaway because you never know if that’s you or not, and it seemed like to me in the video that there may have been a third car that got him started towards my right rear,” Poore told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “The car just hooked me in the right rear which elevated it a little bit, turned it to the left, nose digs in on the left front and starts to roll and I guess at that point the show is on. It was five times in a pirouette is what they’re calling it. “
The wreck left Poore’s car mangled and nearly unrecognizable in some spots. The 52-year-old driver said that the wreck was the worst one he has ever been in.
“I started racing asphalt in 2003 and then made the jump to dirt in 2007 and we were the runner up in the championship two years ago then won the championship last year in this class,” Poore explained. “I have probably run an excess of 100 Dirt Late Model races in the last four or five years and this was by far the worst wreck I have ever been in.”
In today’s racing scene and in light of recent events the push towards having up-to-date safety equipment is talked about more now than ever. Poore noted that his team takes every precaution they can to ensure that his race car is as safe as it can be and advises other to do the same.
“We’d taken the car and had it clipped over the winter to make sure we had a good safe race car because we had been a little bent up last year with last year’s car, so when we went back we just made sure that I had a full containment seat. I wear a Simpson full coverage helmet with all the fire suit and everything. Simpson belts in the car,” Poore said. “I will tell you this, I am six-foot-four and 250 pounds and I am not the guy who fits the mold for a dirt late model chassis for the little bitty space we get to ride in there. I can’t express how grateful I am for all of the equipment.”
Poore also sees the other side of things and how badly things could have ended had he not had everything in check before the crash. He specifically mentioned that the least a driver can do is ensure their own safety equipment is up to par before climbing behind the wheel.
“Most people, you know realize when you look back on it, I could have been in the hospital with a broken back or a broken neck today and it could have been pretty catastrophic from a financial stand point for just chasing my passion and my dreams.”
The safety goes past the belts and the fireproof suits and even goes into the parts and pieces racers chose to run on their cars. Faulty, out of date, or cheap parts can often be detrimental to a racer’s safety.
One of the biggest things Poole emphasized was the fuel cell that was on his car during the wreck.
“I can’t say enough about the fuel cell either. It was a JAZ Product fuel cell and I bought it new this year, too. I can’t get fuel to even come out of it now and I have turned it upside down, shook it around, and there is no fuel coming out of that cell. The hose was jerked plum off the cell and you would think that fuel would have just poured out of it but it didn’t and fire is probably the biggest fear that we have with these things, but I tell you if you don’t have a good fuel cell that has the check valve in it and that type of thing. It didn’t go down the race track and you didn’t see fuel anywhere, all you saw was car and parts everywhere. “
In a wreck that could have ended so differently, Poore is thankful he gets to return to the race track another weekend and climb back behind the wheel of his race car knowing he has done everything he can for his safety.
“All in all I cannot say enough about the safety equipment that they are building today for these cars. These cars are just really safe. I never think about my safety; I think about going fast and having fun because I have got all the stuff that they say I need.”
-By Hannah Newhouse, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: NV-Us Photography