The look on Terry Haddock’s face showed the true scope of his despair.
During Funny Car’s final qualifying session, Haddock suffered a body-launching explosion which inevitably cost him a body as well as a chance to race on Sunday in the AAA NHRA Midwest Nationals outside of St. Louis.
This incident was indicative of the luck Haddock tends to attract. Normally this kind of detonation would be the result of a supercharger/engine failure. This time it was neither.
A fuel pump failure split the fuel tank like an aluminum can causing the fuel inside to explode.
“This is pretty heartbreaking,” Haddock admitted as he surveyed the damaged body. “We are working so hard to come out here and race with these guys. There are so many little teams who have the smarts and the ability to run fast but we are so out-moneyed that it feels like we don’t even have a chance.”
The loss of the body and income from qualifying will force Haddock to miss next weekend’s event in Reading, Pa., and casts a pall on his chances to race Las Vegas and the final event in Pomona.
“More and more, as time goes on, I wonder if it’s worth it,” Haddock said. “My dad never taught me to quit. Or maybe, he never made me smart enough to quit. I always feel like I have to win … have to beat this challenge. It looks bad now and I’m sure it’s not the responsible thing but I’m sure tomorrow I will be hard at work trying to figure out how to fix this.”
Haddock said as gloomy as the prognosis might be, there is a silver lining.
“It could have been worse, I could have been hurt,” Haddock said. “We can replace all of these broken parts. I am lucky to be able to go home to my wife and two children. We can fix this other junk.”
Tomorrow morning, Haddock begins his journey back home to Temple, Texas.
“At some point I’ll sit down and determine what the responsible thing is,” Haddock admitted. “All these years I’ve tried and tried and tried. Sometimes when you try there are your skeptics who say you don’t belong out there. But if you’re not there, no one will ever know you want to be there.
“It’s hard to know what the right answer is.”
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