Sunday, April 15, 2018

"Remembering" Darrell Russell

September 20, 1968 - June 27, 2004
Darrell J. Russell
Born in Houston, Texas, USA.
He was the 2001 NHRA Rookie Of The Year. At the time, he was the third driver to win in his Professional debut.

Before becoming a driver in NHRA's Professional class of Top Fuel Dragster, he competed for several years in NHRA's Sportsman class of Top Alcohol Dragster; a slower version of Top Fuel. In four seasons of competition in NHRA Top Fuel Dragsters, he compiled a record of 106 round wins versus 75 losses. He won six events and was runner-up at eleven others, out of eighty-one events entered.

In 2004 at the NHRA Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway in St. Louis, he was competing in the second round of eliminations when his dragster went out of control and crashed just past the finish line. When the NHRA safety team got to Russell, he was unconscious, but breathing. Russell was extracted from his dragster by NHRA emergency services officials and transported by air to the St. Louis Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.

It was determined one of the rear Goodyear tires blew out, damaging the back part of the race car. Shrapnel caused by the exploding tire entered the drivers cockpit from the rear, fatally injuring Russell. It was flying debris from the explosion, not the impact from the crash, that killed Darrell Russell.

He died of severe head injuries even though he was wearing an approved racing helmet. Russell was the first racer to be killed at an NHRA national event since Blaine Johnson, in 1996. Gateway named one of its grandstands "The Darrell Russell Stand" in his memory.

He was interred in the Klein Cemetery in Pinehurst, Texas in Montgomery County. Over 2,000 people attended his funeral.

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