There were plenty of familiar faces competing at the 2019 Mile-High Nationals, but it was a surprise to see Kenny Delco.
“The last time I think I was here was 1990,” Delco said.
Delco’s latest appearance at the Mile-High Nationals was memorable for all the wrong reasons.
During Q3 Saturday night, Delco was making a pass in the right lane, against points leader Bo Butner.
When Butner left the starting line, his car laid over and his run was done. Delco’s Camaro kept charging down the quarter-mile and crossed the finished line in 6.972 seconds at 196.27 mph.
Then trouble happened shortly after for Delco. Past the finish line, as the parachutes began to deploy there was some smoke coming out from under Delco’s car and it hung a hard left and went nose first into the left wall. Then, the Camaro rolled three times before it settled on its roof and slid to the left wall and came to a stop.
Less than a minute after the scary crash, Delco climbed out of the car and walked away.
“The chute didn’t come out and I stepped on the brake and it felt really hot and I hit again and as soon as I got off the thing it just turned sideways,” said Delco. “It wasn’t as bad as I thought. I was bouncing around and soon as it stopped, I said ‘I’m out of here’. I opened the door and I thought I’m not waiting for anybody to get me out of here and I got out. I never been involved in something like before. Once it turned sideways, I thought ‘oh boy this isn’t good’. The first hit (into the wall) wasn’t that bad. My neck hurts from bouncing around a little bit. It was banging and it was slipping, and I could hear the scraping. It wasn’t something you wanted to hear, but it wasn’t that bad. That car was a good car.”
Delco said the wrecked Camaro is now “junk.” Delco’s ET put him No. 7 on the ladder and he was scheduled to race Erica Enders in first round.
“We will see what happens with the rest of the season,” Delco said. “I have another car if worse comes to worse. The car was driven by Larry Morgan and then Jeg Coughlin won Phoenix in that car this year. That car didn’t like me. It never did.”
Chris McGaha, who came over to Delco’s hauler to check on him, admitted watching the crash was tough for him.
“It puts your stomach in knots is what it does,” McGaha said. “I hated seeing it. It was scary. It makes you realize what you’re really out here doing. That’s the reality of it, that’s for sure. I have my own kid (Mason) fixing to drive. He’s 17 and he will be 18 in December. He has a brand-new (Jerry) Haas car. The plan is for him to run Pro Stock next year. (A crash) can happen in Comp, it can happen here, it can happen on the highway. It’s part of racing and it could have been worse. We have our own little enemy deals and this and that, but when it comes to something like this, it doesn’t matter who it is.”
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019