Pro drag-racer devastated by fatal accident

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This is a sad story. Last Saturday in Nashville, Tennessee a drag-racer crashed his car into a crowd of spectators, killing six people (between the ages of 15 to 22) and injuring at least 23.

All this occurred during the Cars for Kids charity parade, in Selmer (80 miles east of Memphis) when a pro drag-racer Troy Warren Critchley attempted to perform a “burnout exhibition” (when you spin the car’s back tires, which send up clouds of smoke). He lost control of the car and it drove into the crowd. There were no protective barriers on either side of the city’s street. 

Troy Critchley’s ex-wife, Paige Jackson Critchley states “he’s not holding up real well, he’s always been involved with charities and kids. I’m sure he’s terribly devastated by the accident”. Paige, who lives in Waterford, Va. (40 miles northwest of Washington), tells the media that she has spoken with him after the accident, and says that he is now in a “undisclosed location”, and she would not reveal if he is still in Tennessee.

Critchley began his pro drag-racing career in Brisbane, Australia in 1986, building engines. He then started racing on the Australian circuit in the 1990s. He later moved to Virginia in 1998 and later to Michigan in 2001, where he began his drag-racing in Texas 2002. In 2000 he placed fourth in the International Hot Rod Association’s pro-modified series.

The state authorities are still trying to find out what caused the crash. No criminal charges have been filed. Mike Browning, Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesman, stated that Critchley had been tested for drugs and alcohol; the results came out negative.

Since the incident occurred, there have been repeated calls to Critchley’s spokesman for his racing team, and Critchley has not answered the door at his home in Dallas. His family says that they have not spoken to him since the incident.

I feel bad for Critchley; I know it must be hard to go through. Having the press post this incident everywhere makes this hard to deal with. He is obviously feeling really upset about what happened, and finding him is the last thing he wants anyone to do.

Now hopefully there will be changes to make events like the safer, and avoid something like this happening again. Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen says that he thinks that the investigation will lead to changes in permitted racing routines on Tennessee streets. “I think that there’ll be a lot of discussion the appropriateness of burning the tires, and going forward, and I think that’s probably a very good discussion to have,” Gov. Bredesen said.


Burnouts are intended to warm the tires prior to the race. Water is sprayed in the area, enough to wet the track where the car is expected to break traction. Usually the total distance travelled is six to ten car-lengths. NOBODY shifts gears during this process. The video I saw showed a racer flat out performing for a very long distance. You can clearly hear him staged, building RPMs, and shooting off the line exactly as if there was a "Christmas Tree" starting a race. He shifts into second and maintains full speed, then into third, and then looses traction. He was not doing a "burnout." It was the end of the parade and he was showing off, in my opinion.
a) the car is not licensed, insured, nor does it meet the requirements to be legal on a public street
b) even in a sanctioned environment where the car was built to perform the spectators would not be allowed to line the track. It would have been safer to pass out loaded shotguns to the kids.
c) to say the city is being sued is not very consoling-that means everyone that pays taxes pays. This is negligent enough to qualify for a lawsuit against the State of Tennessee, and prison sentencing for the officials that allowed this tragedy to happen
d) some fancy law firm does not need to make millions-and the government should pay the lawyers separately and not out of the settlements
e) the driver of the race car should be charged with vehicular homicide. Above everyone else, he is at fault
f) the sponsors of the car should be held liable monetarily
g) the charity that sponsored the event has probably already filed for bankruptsy.
h) while Mr. Price had good intentions, and I’m sure is stunned by this event, at the least he should not engage in further promotions again
Our prayers are with all those that have sufferred.

I’m with Kyley, that did not look like a simple burnout to me. For whatever reason, it looks like he was making a full pass, and only let off the throttle after it was too late! I’ve been to NHRA drags and nary have I seen a burnout like that, even on TV. Critchley could be in it deep and the city should be ashamed for letting this happen, what with no barriers and all. I mean, what were you thinking!?! My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this senseless, preventable tragedy.

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