In Pieces: Emotional Rich Pallai Jr. Worried Whelen Mod Tour Season May Be Over After Stafford Wreck

The car of Richie Pallai Jr. is returned to the garage area at Stafford Speedway after his crash in Whelen Modified Tour practice Friday afternoon

The car of Richie Pallai Jr. is returned to the garage area at Stafford Speedway after his crash in Whelen Modified Tour practice Friday afternoon

STAFFORD – Rich Pallai Jr. got out of his mangled NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car after a horrific practice crash at Stafford Motor Speedway and emotion took over.

“To tell you the truth, I was crying,” Pallai said. “We put so much effort in. My dad is the crew chief now, everything is done in-house, we’re all by ourselves. We came here and watched it go all down the drain now.”

Pallai, of Yorktown Heights, N.Y., had expected to run a part-time schedule on the Whelen Modified Tour this season, but those plans may have come to an end Friday.

“We were going to go to [New Hampshire Motor Speedway] for our next [Modified Tour] race on [July 12],” Pallai said. “Most likely this car is going to be thrown away. It looks like the whole car is twisted. It doesn’t look good. I don’t know what the future holds now.”

Pallai was running behind Justin Bonsignore down the backstretch during practice Friday afternoon for tonight’s TSI Harley-Davidson 125 when he realized something was horribly wrong. The throttle stuck in his car going into turn three.

“A couple laps into the run I just peeked into the mirror to see if there was anyone behind me and there was no one behind me,” Pallai said. “There wasn’t even anybody on the same straightaway. So when it first stuck my initial thought was ‘Maybe someone is pushing me,’ because I rarely look in the mirror. Usually when that happens going into the corner the car unloads, but it never unloaded. It got more and more speed. You’re kind of a caged animal at that point. You can’t really do anything. I let go of the steering wheel right before I hit and that was it.”

Asked if it was the hardest hit he has ever taken Pallai said: “Absolutely, 100 percent.”

Pallai’s car hit the wall and the car bounced and turned away after contact with the guardrail in turn three, but much of the front end of his car was left stuck in the wall. After the wreck, NASCAR officials put the car in a garage at Stafford Speedway for later inspection.

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  1. Crazy in NY says

    Glad to hear Richie is all right. Damn..some kind of hit. Are TIGOR switches in NASCAR

    Modified future. Hope they find a way back.

  2. Jim anderson says

    Glad that Richie is ok, he and Dad are great people and work hard to suport NWMT

  3. A driver was killed at Thompson International Speedway many years ago when his throttle stuck. Why can’t all racecars use the throttle attachment that doesn’t allow it to stick? Seems like a simple fix.

  4. Take the Stafford two-seater and retrofit it back for just that night – that’s assuming the motor in the 39 is ok still.

    Glad to see no one got hurt.

    I agree. Bob – stuck throttles still happening more than it should. Coby’s at Riverhead last year, this one….

    Has to be something that can be done before someone gets hurt/killed – again.

    And it has to be something in addition to the kill switch – not enough time for a driver to react to hit the kill switch and avoid hitting the wall…and I question if it would really slow down the car in that small amount of time – and track surface before the wall – to prevent serious injury or death.

    Now, easy for me to sit on the sideline and say this, I’m sure it’s not a fingersnap type solution. But still needs to be looked at seriously believe.

  5. Dean Berry says

    Glad he is ok for sure. Something similar happened to Coby last year. This seems like a bigger issue as it has happened to 2 cars in less than 1 year.

  6. Donn Cote says

    Saw that last night, very scary hit. Main thing is Richie is OK. Best wishes to the team and to their return. Keep your faith.

  7. Doug Coby sr says

    Doug’s gas pedal bent around the pedal stop and got hooked by it the Tigor switch would not shut the engine off because it thought he was pressing on the gas pedal maybe this should be a new rule before we lose someone.

  8. I sure Hope Someone Helps this guy out Racing is a very expensive Buisiness and sounds to me the mortaged the farm for this car

  9. darealgoodfella says

    Glad he’s okay and hope he’s racing for the rest of the season. He’s an asset to the Tour.

  10. mary harlow says

    I am thankful Richie is ok. Hope he can make it back. 🙂

  11. 3rd year in a row it’s happened on the tour. McKennedy @ Monadnock in 2012, Coby @ Riverhead in 2013 and now this one

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