If you have been watching Season 2 of Horsepower Wars $10K Drag Shootout, you know the season was riddled with the usual twists and drama that goes with the competitive nature of the show. This season it wasn’t the show that got all of the attention. It was the real life trailer fire that devoured the COMP Cams Dream Team car and damaged several others while being transported to Georgia where they would be on display until the final competition—and (in an ironic twist of fate) this all happened a few days before this season’s premier.
As videos and social media chatter started to surface of the transporter fire, everyone was in a state of disbelief. The tension was palpable among the Horsepower Wars crew, sponsors, teams and the offices at COMP Cams. Like most incidents in this day and age, a low quality video surfaced on social media. In it you could see a transporter on fire on the side of the interstate. “The day the Episode 1 was supposed to air, we were sent a screen shot of the transporter on fire. We could see our car and several other cars burning, but we didn’t want to believe it. As the day went on, we started to hear of talk in automotive chat groups. We were all anxiously waiting on confirmation of what we knew to be true, the Drag Shootout transporter had caught fire and our car was directly engulfed in the flames”, said COMP’s Marketing Operations Manager, Meri Beth Rein.
The builds from the four teams were on their way to Summit Racing Equipment in McDonough, GA, ready to go on display ahead of the final race. Not even half way through the journey in Las Cruces, New Mexico, (what’s believed to have been) brake failure sparked a blaze on the car hauler devastated the automotive cargo with a blaze that essentially destroyed one of the cars, and that was the build from the COMP Cams Dream Team.
“My initial thought on the fire was we have to immediately fix it,” Dream Team’s driver Keith Berry shared with us. “I thought how bad could it be’, after actually seeing the car in person I wondered how could it be any worse.”
Jesse Adams shares his reaction that, “I thought it was some sort of joke; I really thought someone was messing with us, until someone posted a link to the news story and video,” Jesse continues, “The video was pretty low quality, so we could not tell which car was the most heavily damaged.”
Captured on camera, the fire burned with the SN95 Mustang engulfed in the fire. Right away, it was clear that the Dream Team Mustang was completely destroyed, and it would later be discovered that Team Bigun’s Ford Granada wagon would come away with damage to the engine compartment and electronics, Team Enemies Everywhere’s Camaro had mild damage to the rear of the car, and only Midwest Mayhem’s Oldsmobile Cutlass was completely spared.
“It was discouraging to see the condition of the Dream Team race car after the fire,” said Dream Team’s Dave Henninger. “On the bright side, all the competing teams are on board to come together and fix all the cars. We will bring the car back to life to compete at the same level prior to the fire. The Dream Team is committed to showing the other three teams that we can rise up to any challenge, including this one.”
It was crushing heartbreak and disappointment for everyone vested in the show and anxious for the outcome of the final competition. This was especially for those who put their blood, sweat, and tears into each car. But, now that the gut-wrenching blow has worn off, the true spirit of determination and camaraderie among HP War’s teammates, sponsors and crew members will prevail.
“Reality threw us a curve-ball, just like many people get curve-balls on a daily basis,” Dream Team member Jorge Ramos shares, “We don’t give up in life. We move forward and give it our best calculated swing!”
While plans were being ironed out on how to break the news to the fans of the series, what to do about the race, and what’s next for the teams, one thing was agreed upon – this was not the time for giving up!
“We all agreed that no matter what anyone else said, we would be fixing our cars, racing them, and settling the 10K Season 2 Shootout, no matter what,” shared Adams.
With everyone agreeing that a ‘never say die’ attitude was the only acceptable approach to this challenge, it’s time to get down to business. The fire is not the end of the competition. A mutual decision was made to rebuild the effected cars, and with the Dream Team’s Mustang being burned to the metal, there’s a long road ahead. They do not seem deterred, and seem more than excited about what’s ahead.
For the Dream Team, the decision was made to reuse the shell of the burned car, but with the structural integrity reinforced beyond the scope of the original build. “Ultimately, keeping Keith safe is priority #1,” Jesse Adams offered, “That being said, our Mustang will retain factory style suspension, with more tubing and bracing than before.”
“We’re certainly going to take advantage of any opportunity that we have. I actually think we will end up with an even better car but it will be certainly burned up looking and horrid,” said Keith Barry.
The October race was only four weeks away at the time of the fire, so that date has been pushed back to Donald “Duck” Long’s “Lights Out” event in February 2020. Stay tuned to the Horsepower Wars $10K Drag Shootout website for more information on that.
One silver lining about the race being rescheduled is that driver Keith Barry got to spend the weekend of “No Mercy” at home with his new grandson; he tells us it was a fluke that he was home because he usually dedicates his weekends to the family business. Jorge Ramos was at a no prep race event in Edingburg Motorsports Park during the weekend of the scheduled race to stay fresh for the big competition. Jesse Adams was keeping an eye on the races at “No Mercy”, while also taking advantage of the downtime before the big rebuild.
The redemption builds will be highlighted in an episode in early 2020, but the series finale in the heart pounding $10,000 drag race at South Georgia Motorsport Park will go down in February of 2020.
To find out more, or to ask question to a member of the Dream Team, you can go on-line during a special 90 minute Q & A event, Thursday October 31st @ 2 p.m.. Click here for details.
To catch up on Horsepower Wars $10K Drag Shootout, or see more coverage of the devastating fire, click here.