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Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Chase Van Sant's close scrape at the FallNationals

The 2023 NHRA season was a wild one in many ways, including several spectacular on-track incidents. Here’s a look back at 12 of the biggies. Day 9: Eventual NHRA Rookie of the Year Chase Van Sant's wide ride at the Texas NHRA FallNationals.
20 Dec 2023
Posted by NHRA.com staff
Twelve Days of Wrecks-mas

2023 NHRA Rookie of the Year winner Chase Van Sant's ride to the prestigious title did not come easy as the first-year Pro Stock Motorcycle Pro injured his knee during qualifying at the Texas NHRA FallNationals and had to sit out the remainder of the season.

Van Sant, rider of the Trick Tools/White Alligator Racing Suzuki, was injured in the opening qualifying session when his left knee made contact with the racing surface in the shutdown area at Texas Motorplex as he attempted to keep his motorcycle from veering right into the guardwall. Pro Stock Motorcycles have a very limited steering input from turning the front tires and rely heavily on the rider shifting his or her weight to steer them.

“Sometimes the bike won't lean at all. It just stays straight up, and it wants to go right, and it's like that's the feeling I had from the 1,000-foot mark until the finish line," said Van Sant. "What really happened was there was a pretty big bump, so that's why I was hanging off the side of it, I hit the bump and my knee just basically hit the ground. My knee got knocked back up, and it picked my butt out of the seat. I didn't know I was hurt bad. When I looked down, like you can see in the video, I could see my kneecap and tendons, and I knew it was bad.”

Van Sant went to a local hospital, where he was treated and was back at the track Saturday, then flew home to Iowa to seek further treatment and underwent skin-graft surgery Oct. 19, but he was a welcome sight at the year's two remaining events, even if he wasn't riding.