Racing Driver’s Widow Takes Goodyear To Court
The widow of drag racer Darrell Russell has filed a civil lawsuit in New Braunfels, Texas, against the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), and Simpson Helmets. Mr Russell died from a head injury on 27 June 2004, after the left rear tyre on his dragster exploded at more than 323 mph and he crashed during a race at Madison, Illinois.
Julie Russell seeks unspecified damages in her suit, claiming that the NHRA and its exclusive tyre supplier, Goodyear, mandated a defective tyre for use in its top fuel class without sufficient testing, provided no alternative when the tyre’s defective properties became known, and participated in a cover-up that has prevented the cause of the crash from being made public. She also claims the Simpson helmet worn by her husband was defective, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The complaint alleges that days before the accident Russell’s crew chief, Wayne Dupuy, met with NHRA officials and was told the tyre was safe and must be used when he asked whether they were going to recall the tyres or wait until someone was injured or killed.
Goodyear and the NHRA had no comment. The tyre model has not been used in the NHRA since the accident.