No matter how many regulations are involved or security measures taken, there are still plenty of risks taken when drag racing. Ironically, that’s part of the appeal for some individuals and they participate in track events knowing full well what risks they’re taking. Still, no one really expects to be involved in a violent crash on any given race day, but that’s exactly what happened to Bill Burch back in 2006. Check out the amazing crash footage as featured on truTV’s Most Shocking above.
Burch is like any racer who frequents the track, living for each green light he encounters. But the green light he caught at the 47th annual March Meet at the Auto Famoso Raceway near Bakersfield, CA on March 19, 2006 didn’t result in just another high-paced run down the drag strip. Instead it resulted in a frightening crash that Burch was lucky to survive.
Driving his AA/GS Willys Coupe, Burch lined up in the first pair of cars and launched flawlessly for what looked to be like an impressive run. But things got hairy around the 1,000-foot mark when Burch’s car made an instantaneous left turn, shooting him across the opposing side of the track and into the wall at a high rate of speed. But the drama didn’t end there. After impact, Burch’s car began to barrel roll, stopping only after it had turned over 11 times, disintegrated into pieces and caught fire due to a fuel tank rupture.
As life-threatening as the crash seemed, Burch walked away from the accident, reportedly even kicking his car in frustration after he came to. Burch had been knocked unconscious upon hitting the wall and didn’t knowingly experience the ride of his life until he asked a crew member what happened.
While first instinct would say that something broke on Burch’s car, causing it to veer left and crash, the problem was actually the track. In 2006, the March Meet had been postponed for a week due to rainy weather. When the event finally got the go-ahead, the track was in less than ideal shape, seeping rain water out its surface from the extreme weather the area had been having. This caused a slick spot on the right-hand lane of the track which caused Burch’s car to lose traction, throwing it into the wall.
After Burch’s horrifying crash, two other racers lost control of their vehicles because of the slick spot. Although anticipation had been high for the event, track officials and event organizers decided track conditions warranted the event unsafe to continue and they canceled it for the first time in its history.
It’s amazing that Burch walked away from such a violent crash. Luckily the safety precautions that were in place did their job and saved his life. Unfortunately, the car wasn’t so lucky.