LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Chaos at an East Texas drag race was caught on tape. We had a crew out at the race in Lufkin, when our cameras caught more than we bargained for.
"Uh oh, looks look someone had an accident down there! Uh oh, caught on fire!" said a drag race fan during an on-camera interview.
In a matter of seconds, a fan we were talking to watched the car he thought would win crash against the Pine Valley Raceway drag strip wall. Moments later, thick smoke was billowing from Royce Freeman's car.
"I saw the smoke, I knew there was fire so my main concern after that was getting myself unbuckled and getting out of the car," said Freeman.
Freeman said he's lucky he walked away from the accident. "I've had some wild rides, but nothing like this," he said. "[I] don't really know what happened. Car made a good run, left the starting line good, went through the finish line, pulled the parachute and it just made a right turn into the wall and from there I was just trying to get the car stopped, shut down and get out. The car was on fire, I couldn't breathe real well."
Freeman crashed at 205 miles per hour. In his 25 years of drag racing, this was his first wreck.
"It was quite a ride," he said while shaking his head in disbelief.
He said this was his $100,000 car's first and last race. "It's brand new!" he said. "It's never been down the race track until today. It is brand new!"
A crowd of young racers gathered around Freeman's destroyed car as a crew tried to figure out what went wrong. Freeman said unlike his life, the car is replaceable.
"It's a little disheartening, but it's a racecar," he said.
Just minutes after his wreck, he said he's ready to get back behind the wheel.
"If I had a car today I would get in it right now and go race," said Freeman.