Scott Palmer had no reason to ever imagine his house in Marionville, Mo., would burn to the ground.
The NHRA Top Fuel driver is now coping with reality.
On Feb. 9, Palmer’s home in the small town near Springfield, Mo., was destroyed by fire. No one was hurt during the blaze and Palmer wasn’t home when the fire occurred. Palmer has been in Palm Beach (Fla.) for nearly a month working on Paul Richards’ new nitro Funny Car while also assisting fellow Top Fuelers Dominick Lagana and Bobby Lagana during their test sessions.
“I will be back Monday afternoon to see the damage from the fire,” the 47-year-old Palmer said in an interview with Competition Plus. “I hated not to go rush back earlier to see what the fire did, but they would not let us go in the house anyway, so they just told us to stay here (in Palm Beach). I do not really know what happened except that it burned the house and one of my cars, a Pontiac Grand Prix, I drive around. They have not determined yet what caused the fire, but it is an older two-story house, and when it caught on fire it went up fast. I live in a residential neighborhood, but there are only houses about every two acres, so no one else’s property was damaged.”
Palmer is still trying to comprehend what happened to his home. Photos sent from friends by cell phone are the only pictures he has left of his house.
“We have to get back home and figure out what to do,” said Palmer, whose primary occupation the past few years has been as a full-time racer. “We have to find a place to live because as soon as they investigate the fire they are just going to bulldoze it up because there is nothing salvageable. We can’t even go in there and look to see if there is anything left because it is that bad. Everybody says we were lucky we were not there, but you always wonder if you were there if it would have happened. That’s the tough part. We wish we would have been there because maybe it was something we could have stopped from happening.”
Fortunately for Palmer, his Top Fuel dragster wasn’t at his home and neither was any of his race car equipment. They are housed at the Superlifts shop in Nixa, Mo. Superlifts is one of Palmer’s sponsors.
“I hate to say that is the main thing, that the dragster didn’t get burned, but that is pretty important when that it what you do for a living,” Palmer said. “We were kind of planning on going out early this year racing and running the car harder than we did last year. We still are going to race this season because of all of our sponsors like Tigerflow, Superlifts, and Mark Industries, gave us money to race and that’s what we do and how we make a living. This (the fire) is definitely going to make it more difficult because you are not used to dealing with things like this and a Top Fuel team. Originally, we wanted to start racing at Pomona or possibly Vegas, but we have moved that back and now we will try and come out at Houston (April 29-May 1). We just have to see what we are up against at home.”
Palmer competed in 10 NHRA national events last year and finished tied for 19th in the point standings with Chris Karamesines.
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