Toronto’s Raymond Commisso made some highlight reels big time during the ADRL’s Northeast Drags II event held at Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania last weekend – but for all the wrong reasons.….
The driver of the Skull Motorsports Camaro had yet another serious career crash during the very first Pro Mod qualifying round on Friday.
Raymond’s very powerful supercharged car, which is tuned jointly by Al Billes and Bob Newberry, made a very violent move shortly after leaving the starting line. Then a subsequent chain of events sent him hard into the opposite guardwall in a very fiery collision.
The incident damaged Ray’s car to the point of no return for this event and it also delayed the event about 90 minutes as track officials made repairs to the concrete guardwall which was punched through by the impact.
Most importantly — Raymond was not injured in the incident — which is unfortunately just the latest one that he has been involved with.
“I took my foot off the gas when I felt the car start to get into trouble,” Raymond said, “But then it auto shifted and just jumped and took off on me. There was nothing I could do about it at that point — I was just along for the ride.”
Co-crew Chief Al Billes (BarrieON) also offered up post crash thoughts.
“When it left the starting line it hazed the tires really early,” Al reflected. “There was too much wheel speed too early and in these Pro Mod cars that can be a problem. Then one tire hooked up better then the other and the car turned on him.”
“It (the car) did auto shift and we will take steps to make sure that can’t happen again. Maybe if there had been some sort of auto lockout device on the shifter – that might have saved the car – but it’s hard to say.”
“At the end of the day this is just part of racing,” he added. “When you are aggressive (as we are) things like this can happen. You can’t really point a finger at any one thing as the cause — it really was a sequence of events.”
Billes also added that while the track prep was very good at the Reading event the reality was Ray’s car was one of the very first Pro Mods out and the track was definitely still green.
While the collision and resulting fuel explosion did look very extreme – the team did confirm that the actual damage was not a severe as you might think. From the front motor plate back the race car was basically intact and repairable.
Photos by: Bruce Biegler and Steve Embling