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NHRA Winternationals: Ron Capps survives massive explosion in Pomona

A car exploded and caught fire during the Winternationals in Pomona. The driver told ABC7 about his survival story.
February 7, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
A car exploded and caught fire during the Winternationals in Pomona. Driver Ron Capps told Eyewitness News about his survival story.

Southern California is the home of hot rod car racing. The National Hot Rod Association's Winter Nationals got underway with a frightening and spectacular explosion at the Auto Club Raceway on Friday.

Capps, driving the Napa Auto Parts Funny Car, was approaching 300 mph when his car suddenly exploded and came apart.

The blast was captured from multiple angles. There was even a camera inside the car that shows what it looked like from Capps' point of view.

When the race car came to a stop, Capps was helped out of the destroyed vehicle by emergency response crews. Incredibly, he walked away from the wreckage and is OK.

"At first you're not sure what exactly is going on. All of a sudden, the race car you're driving is a convertible, and you see sky and flames and pieces flying," Capps described. "It sort of takes you a minute to figure out where you're at. I thought, am I on the 405? Am I on the 5? Where am I? Then all these safety trucks start rolling up."

As for the car, the body is now just a $50,000 crumpled mess. But unbelievably, the engine and the rest of the car are prepped and awaits Capps' next race. Race officials say the problem was a backfire in the super charger with just minor damage to the engine.


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