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From the Archives: 1971 drag boat race accident

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Aug. 15, 1971: Pilot Sonny DiMarco of Sun Valley is thrown into the air as his boat flips wildly in a finish-line crash at the National Drag Boat Assn. Races at Long Beach Marine Stadium. This photo appeared in the Aug. 16, 1971, Los Angeles Times.
(Don Cormier / Los Angeles Times)

Drag boat pilot Sonny DiMarco was fished from the water and taken to a hospital after his spectacular crash in 1971 off Long Beach. He escaped with only minor bumps and bruises. In a separate crash, Gary Cornwall of Reno suffered a broken foot.

The next morning the Los Angeles Times reported, “Larry Hill of Fresno, drove his unblown fuel hydro Mr. Ed, to a new speed record of 202.46 m.p.h.to highlight Sunday’s National Drag Boat races at Long Beach Marine Statium in front of a crowd of 15,800 fans.”

This image by Los Angeles Times staff photographer Don Cormier appeared on the next day’s Sports section cover. This photo won first place in the sports category in the 1972 Press Photographers Assn. of Greater Los Angeles’ annual contest.

This post originally was published on June 1, 2011.


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