Drag Illustrated Issue 180, January / February 2023 | Page 28



Sam Fenech

Australian Pro Mod Racer Sam Fenech Passes in New Year ’ s Crash
By Kayla Zadel

Well-known Australian Top Doorslammer drag racer Sam Fenech passed away after a tragic crash on January 7 .

Fenech was competing in Ipswich , west of Brisbane , at the Australian Drag Racing Championship ( ADRC ) New Year Nitro event at Willowbank Raceway when his car went airborne and crashed around 7 p . m . local time . His ACDelco Chevrolet Racing Camaro Slammer crossed into the other lane , rolled several times , left the track , and crashed into a camera tower .
Both Fenech and the camera operator were treated at the track immediately . However , Fenech passed away at the scene from his injuries . The camera operator was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries .
Willowbank Raceway confirmed Fenech ’ s death in a statement on Saturday evening .
“ It is with great sadness that Top Fuel Racing Australia announces that Sam Fenech , driver of the Fabietti Racing Doorslammer , has succumbed to injuries suffered in a racing accident at Willowbank Raceway and passed away this evening ,” said the statement , posted on social media . “ We send our love and support to the Fenech family and the whole team at Fabietti Racing .”
The New Year Nitro event was postponed after the crash .
The Fenech-driven black and gold Camaro was unveiled at the Bathurst 1000 in October 2022 . Fenech first laid down the passes in the car in November 2022 . After making a few tuning changes , Fenech and his team were able to make a full pass , notching the fastest speed ever recorded for a Pro Slammer in Australia at 261.78 mph with a 5.70 E . T .
The ACDelco Slammer Drag Racing team posted a statement on social media , reading , “ Sam was and always will be a part of the Fabietti Racing family and was an icon of the drag racing community . He will be incredibly missed . Our thoughts are with Sam ’ s family at this time .”
Fenech suffered a horrific crash in 2019 when his parachutes got tangled in his wheelie bars , and with brakes on fire , he hit the sand trap at around 200 mph . He then took out the safety net and went over the tire wall with the car going end over end as it climbed an 80-foot grass bank . Fenech rebounded and won the 400 Thunder Championship Drag Racing Series in the ACDelco Monaro in 2021 .
Fenech is survived by his wife , Natalie , and three children . DI

Dan Jesel

1941 – 2023

On January 11 , 2023 , the Jesel family announced the passing of Dan Jesel , the founder of Jesel Valvetrain Innovation . Dan was a beloved father , a brilliant innovator , a generous employer , and respected member of the racing community .

Dan started Jesel Valvetrain in 1980 with the goal of engineering the finest valvetrain components available , without compromise . He built Jesel Valvetrain into what it is today , a state-of-the-art engineering and manufacturing company . Along the way , Dan introduced the performance engine world to innovations such as Shaft Rocker Arms , Camshaft Belt Drives , Keyway Roller Lifters and his latest and most innovative project , a designed-from-scratch engine he named the “ Equal Eight .”
As per Dan ’ s wishes , Jesel Valvetrain Innovation will continue to operate as a privately held company run to the highest of standards . Through
Dan ’ s wisdom and knowledge and with the dedication of his employees , Jesel Valvetrain will continue to supply the industry with components worthy of his name . DI
28 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 180