Close Encounter of the Dangerous Kind!

By:       Bruce Biegler

Calgary’s Ashley Bart carved herself out a little bit of drag racing history during the IHRA Rocky Mountain Nationals.  During Saturday’s evening feature racing she won the Nitro Jam’s Pro Fuel class runoff and with that became the first female, first Canadian and first supercharged TAD driver to ever accomplish that.

 “All of that is pretty astounding in my books,” said Bart, one of Canada’s fastest rising young drivers.  “It was special to do it in my home province.”

But now as they say, for the rest of the story…  

Ashley Bart -- First Female IHRA Pro Fuel Class Winner

Possibly overlooked following her win was a super close top end encounter of the dangerous kind during round one of competition.  When Ashley’s Gilmour Motorsports dragster was racing along side the Manitoba-based Doucette Racing injected nitro car, the two machines got extremely close together when Doucette’s driver for the event (Spencer Massey) had some issues.

 “That was a scary thing,” Ashley later admitted.  “He had the lead on me but I made up ground and caught him around the finish line.  As he was trying to shut the car off it moved right beside me — into my lane.  I did counter react and got over to the right.  I could then see his car bouncing.  It hit the wall and there was a lot of smoke.  Thankfully we both got the parachutes out and we were OK.  I don’t think there was any actual contact.”

 The close call was the only near incident during an otherwise very safe running of the IHRA River Cree Rocky Mountain Nationals event.

Top end close encounter...

 (Bruce Biegler Photos)