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Sat, 6 Sep 2003, 07:25 PM

Chris Vandergriff Involved in Top Fuel Qualifying Crash
Courtesy of Bobby Bennett Jr., Harley Communications

Transported to Hospital for Evaluation

CLERMONT, Ind. -- Chris Vandergriff's NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Top Fuel debut ended prematurely when he crashed the dragster at Indianapolis Raceway Park. The first-year driver from Marietta, Ga., was transported to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for evaluation. Team officials had speculated that Vandergriff may have suffered a concussion in the mishap but tests returned negative.

The accident transpired during the fourth qualifying session. Vandergriff launched hard but 300-feet into the pass the front-end began to lift. Despite getting out of the throttle, Vandergriff's entry continued to pull upward until it went over backwards. The car then made hard contact with the wall and a flash fire ensued but quickly extinguished itself.

Vandergriff never left consciousness following his extraction from the car and the subsequent trip to the hospital.

Older brother Bob Vandergriff Jr., also a licensed driver on the NHRA POWERade tour, conveyed that Chris appears to be fine although he may feels the after effects of the crash in the morning.

"He took a pretty hard hit to the head," explained Vandergriff. "The blowover was relatively soft but the hit to the wall was a hard one. He's gonna be sore tomorrow, that's for sure. The good thing is that he will be okay."

Vandergriff made his Top Fuel debut earlier this year at the NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals in Commerce, Ga., and qualified 14th in the tough 16-car field. This was his second of three planned outings for 2003.

The team has not released an official statement detailing their future plans.

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