NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

After frightening Denver crash, Kenny Delco already thinking ahead to Sonoma

Kenny Delco went for a wild ride on Saturday night in Denver but he plans on racing next week in Sonoma.
21 Jul 2019
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor

After crashing his Camaro in a scary top-end crash on Saturday night in Denver, there isn’t a soul on Earth that would blame Kenny Delco if he'd just decided to pack up and head back to his home in New York. The trouble is, Delco doesn’t think that way. He’d barely climbed from the wreckage of his Coffee by Artisan Camaro when he began to formulate a plan to race in next weekend’s Sonoma Nationals in California.

“We have our old car back at the shop in New York and I know that car better than this one,” said Delco. “It’s actually Val’s car [teammate Val Smeland]. I just need to convince someone to put it in a truck and drive it across the country, and to have it in Sonoma by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest. I also had an offer from Deric Kramer to borrow a car so I have options. We’ll see what happens this week. I want to keep going because we ran well this weekend.”

Even though his car made an impact with the wall and rolled at least three times before landing on the roof, Delco wasn't injured. In fact, he claimed that he wasn't even sore less than 24-hours after the incident. Even though he was inverted, he managed to get the seat belts off and climb from the car as soon as the Safety Safari arrived on the scene.

“I’m not sure how I did it, but I got out without even taking down the window net,” said Delco. “I guess when you’re upside down, you just want to get out as soon as you can. I had a little scratch on my side, and I was dirty from all the dust and bits of carbon fiber flying around. When I got to the hotel and cleaned up, the facecloth was all dirty. Otherwise, I really feel good. I don’t think it hit as hard as it looked.”

The trouble started at the end of a 6.972 run when Delco’s chutes got tangled with the wheelie bars. Even though he’s made thousands of trouble-free runs in a Pro Stock car, it only took one pump of the brake pedal for the trouble to begin.

“We have new brakes on that car and it just locked up on me,” Delco said. “Stupid. It was just stupid on my part. The brake pedal was a little hard and about the third time I pumped it, I was sideways and there was no saving it. I’ve made runs where the chutes didn’t come out and I’ve done it at places that are shorter than this one. I’ve never had a problem before. Normally, the front tires lock up and the car just slides. This time, it was the back tires, and it came around before I even knew what was happening.”

Delco, who reached the semifinals earlier this year in Gainesville, believes that his car can be fixed, although it will require an extensive makeover at chassis builder Jerry Haas’ shop near St. Louis.

“The car really isn’t that bad all things considered,” Delco said. “We’ll get it to Jerry’s and get it fixed and we should be good to go. I’m not about to quit yet. That’s not my style.”