The 1966 Corvette of Dave Schroeder, a car well known at HOT ROD Drag Week and in other street-legal drag racing circles, hit the wall yesterday when the parachutes failed to deploy. Fortunately, Schroeder was unharmed but the car is down and out for the remainder of Drag Week Competition.
“It wasn’t that hard a tap,” said Schroeder. “The chutes didn’t open at the end of the track, and I was coming up pretty hard; I braked too hard and locked up the rear wheels. I let off but there was no steering through the traps.”
The wreck happened on what was Schroder’s best past to date, a 6.85 at 199.52 mph. “I told my wife it needed some paint, a radiator, and a tire,” Schroder said. “ Maybe we should send a call out for a racer in need of some parts,” he laughed. The car suffered damage to the chassis, radiator, body, struts, and likely a few more areas that will be found later at the shop.
“It didn’t feel bad when it tagged the wall, Schroeder said. “I was more pissed off than anything else. I almost had to buy a new carbon helmet because when I got out; I just about threw it on the ground and smashed it.
The car, which is still an original ’66 Corvette from behind the doors back, had received some upgrades to make it more street-friendly for 2016 competition. A set of 1.5:1 rocker arms replaced the 1.9s during street drives and valve spring oilers kept the springs cool and lubricated in traffic. A bigger radiator and twin,16-inch electric fans were also added to keep the 872ci mountain motor running cool.
Once the ‘Vette returns home to Toronto, Canada, it will be treated to a full rebuild. “Oh yea, we’ll be back next year,” added Schroeder.
“The [original] body is a 300 pound weight penalty,” said Schroeder. “We don’t have a shot of sticking with Lutz and Bailey with the power we have.” So, while he is adamant the ‘Vette will be rebuilt, he dropped a few casual hints that something bigger and meaner might be in his future for Drag Week 2017.
Schroeder has always been a quintessential nice Canadian, looking on the bright side even after the overly intimate wall-touch. “I was thinking of redoing the struts anyway,” he said. Then he told us about how in the past, the shut-down area at National Trail used to go on for hundreds of feet and they would close the small municipal road when fast cars were running. You can still see the guardrails and the track across the street. “I am told that many racers would even blast past this and end up in the cornfield,” he said. We’re just glad he’s ok.