April 24, 2018
link to facebook link to twitter
More Stories
Technology High School relocates Community SAIF celebrates heroes Rainfall levels are up – But not yet normal RP cracking down on distracted driving SSU shines at United Nations No future for local karaoke Graffiti threat tests Rancho’s emergency protocol A science guy goes angling Tour bus rams bridge on the way to Graton Casino Vehicle thefts drops Financial challenges may cause station closures Standing together on gun reform Greenhouse gas reduction efforts RP votes to change commissioner terms Prostitution ring uncovered National Walk Out RP attempting to alleviate traffic woes SSU loses compassionate alumna Crab feed comes to Penngrove Bunnies and eggs come to Cotati Fire displaces RP residents Graton Casino funds to help community projects Correction: Cotati City Council presented with awards for excellence in city budget Every 15 Minutes at the Ranch RP's new municipal regulations will try and curb parking problem Haircuts and meals for homeless Gov. Brown swears in newCHP Commissioner Traffic signal updates Judson Snyder, columnist Cotati to get new park and ride New RP homeless count and SR homeless camp eviction RP residents win Miss Sonoma County and Outstanding Teen TRIO works in Rohnert Park Snyder era ends at age 92 Crash causes small gas leak 53 alleged Brown Act violations Council approves La Plaza park for fundraiser Schools for climate action RP Council votes to extend terms Be a part of history: Penngrove to assemble time capsule Two alarm fire displaces RP residents, destroys home Free tax prep assistance for low income residents Sonoma County reports flu death Drunk driver tries to flee scene SR woman killed by SMART train

Drag racer dies

By: Katherine Minkiewicz
April 6, 2018

A 75-year-old Napa resident died after crashing his 1976 Ford Pinto into a rail at high speed at an organized contest drag race at the Sonoma Raceway last Wednesday evening.

According to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, the avid racer, James Kenneth Rambo, died around the 6 p.m. hour after crashing the customized vehicle into the k-rail (wall) of the raceway during the popular Wednesday night event. Wednesday Night Drags is a community evening event that runs from March until November where the track is opened for around 300 vehicles per night to race. Prior to racing the vehicle must pass a safety inspection and the driver must have a valid California Driver’s License.

First responders were called to the scene to provide assistance and lifesaving efforts, however, Rambo died at the scene due to the severity of his injuries.

The accident occurred when, “At the conclusion of the drag race, after he crossed the finish line, it appears he braked but his vehicle pulled to the left and he hit a k-rail at over 100 miles per hour,” according to a press release from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.

Initially after the accident occurred details were limited, according to a tweet from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, however, they did confirm the accident and time of death to be sometime around 6:15 p.m.

According to a Sonoma Raceway press release, Rambo was the only racer along the quarter mile stretch of track at the time of the accident.

Jere Starks, Sonoma Raceway vice president of facilities and operations, told KGO-TV that the driver had made one pass, and everything seemed OK prior to the accident. Starks also told KGO-TV/ABC 7 News that Rambo was wearing all the proper safety gear and that his car even had a full roll cage.

As reported in an NBC Bay Area article, Rambo’s family had said that he had no medical conditions and was in good health. According to the same article, Rambo’s son, Jeff Rambo, says he believes the crash was due to a problem with the car’s brakes even though they did not have any previous problems.

For Wednesday Night Drags, this is the first fatality in the program’s 30-year history. 

According to the Wednesday Night Drags website, the aim of the program is to, “Give people a safe, legal, controlled environment in which to drag race their cars, away from city streets.”

Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputies are continuing to investigate the cause of the crash.

In the same Sonoma Raceway press release, the raceway offered its condolences to Rambo’s family, “We send our sincere condolences to his family and friends.”