Spencer Hyde’s Debut NHRA Top Fuel Run Results in Massive Fire

Jackson Wheeler
4 Min Read


  • Spencer Hyde’s initial run in an NHRA Top Fuel car ended up in ‘a flaming mess’.
  • Canadian newcomer was back on the track Saturday to complete qualifying.

Spencer Hyde’s first NHRA Top Fuel pass started out straight down the groove Friday during the In-N-Out Burgr Finals. By the time the Elite Dragster reached the finish line at Southern California’s In-N-Out Pomona Dragstrip, its engine had exploded into a massive fireball.

Hyde was unhurt by the engine concussion which detonated his supercharger and tossed it to the side and burned away the parachutes (which play a key role in stopping the dragster).

“That’s not what we were going for at all,” Hyde said after collecting his thoughts. “I felt like I was on a decent run, then right before the finish line, [I had] the biggest bang I ever felt. It felt pretty good all the way down through there. Then at about 800 feet, it banged pretty hard – and I knew it banged up good. I tried to get it stopped. Smoke was coming up. I couldn’t really see. Safety guys did a good job of getting me out. We’re good. It was a pretty big concussion, flames coming up in front of me. Scary ride, but I think everything’s going to be okay. I’m fine.”

Public-address announcer Alan Reinhart called it “a flaming mess.”

His wild experience at 3.921 seconds on the 1,000-foot course at 254.18 mph, was good enough for fifth place in Friday’s tentative line-up.

The dragster, which belongs to Canadian brothers Todd and Tony Paton, was back on the track Saturday, fulfilling Hyde’s promise to “try to get it fixed up and come back.” Hyde clocked a quicker and faster 3.860 seconds at 269.83 mph Saturday in the third of four sessions.

Hyde, who has spent most of 2023 competing in the PDRA Pro Mod Series who rents the car from the Paytons, has shared the car with Kelly Harper, who debut at Las Vegas two weeks ago. But Hyde drove it earlier this year at two match races this summer, one in New York and one at Grand Bend, [Ont.,] his home track. He earned his license in March at Gainesville, Fla., a few days before he won the World Series of Pro Mod.

Headshot of Susan Wade

Contributing Editor

Susan Wade has lived in the Seattle area for 40 years, but motorsports is in the Indianapolis native’s DNA. She has emerged as one of the leading drag-racing writers with nearly 30 seasons at the racetrack, focusing on the human-interest angle.  She was the first non-NASCAR recipient of the prestigious Russ Catlin Award and has covered the sport for the Chicago Tribune, Newark Star-Ledger, and Seattle Times. She has contributed to Autoweek as a freelance writer since 2016.

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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