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Drag racer survives scary crash at Winternationals in Pomona

February 11, 2012 |  3:13 pm

Drag racer Mike Austin escaped injury Saturday when his dragster skidded out of control and crashed at the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona.

Austin, of Medford, Ore., drives a top-alcohol dragster in one of the National Hot Rod Assn.'s second-tier series, and he was in the first round of eliminations in the right lane at Auto Club Raceway when the accident happened.

About halfway through his run, Austin's car swerved, sailed over the right-side guard wall and skidded until it came to rest next to the right scoring tower at the end of the quarter-mile drag strip. Rescue workers immediately came to his aid.

After several tense minutes, Austin walked from his car on his own power and then was examined and released by medical officials, the NHRA said.

Meanwhile, in the NHRA's premier Full Throttle Series, defending Winternationals top-fuel winner Morgan Lucas jumped to the No. 1 qualifying spot Saturday with a run of 3.783 seconds at 325.06 mph.

And in the funny-car division, Robert Hight of John Force Racing ran the class' fastest time of the weekend so far with a run of 4.060 seconds at 316.52 mph.

One more round of qualifying was scheduled Saturday before final eliminations Sunday.

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-- Jim Peltz

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