LANGDON'S SATURDAY EXPLOSION SENDS DIEHL AND CREWMAN INTO EVASIVE ACTION
Jeff Diehl has dodged cones behind the wheel. He's even dodged errant race cars crossing the centerline.
Diehl, who is an avid surfer in his downtime, can add a supercharger drive to his resume.
Saturday, during Top Fuel's Q-4 session, Diehl, along with Jim Dunn Racing crewmember Eugene Gray were standing along the chain link fence at the edge of the professional pits watching the action when Shawn Langdon experienced his massive supercharger explosion.
The blast set the shrapnel flying from the fiery engine.
"We saw him coming down the track, and we were watching the cars, it blew up, and stuff was flying, and I yelled, ‘Duck!" Diehl explained. "Everybody went on the ground. And I’m dumb enough to keep looking on the ground."
From his vantage point at the bottom of the retaining fence, Diehl watched in amazement as the errant piece left a trail of damage in its wake.
"This thing comes flying, and it hits the fence and ratchets down the fence and hits the pole," Diehl said. "It broke the pole, and then it flew. I kept my eyes on it now, and it’s like driving the car, it’s in slow motion, pow, pow, pow, pow down the fence, hits the pole, goes back up in the air and hits the guardrail."
Diehl was uninjured, and Gray walked away with scratches on his arm from pressing against the fence so hard.
The incident got Diehl's attention to the inherent risks of drag racing, even as a spectator.
"I was white as a ghost," Diehl admitted. "I came over and hugged [wife] Leeza and went, ‘Wow, that was close."