Dragster crashes into Wing-In-It smokehouse

A dragster race car accidentally careened out of control, striking an embankment (foreground) and becoming airborne before landing in the smokehouse of Wing-In-It restaurant. The car's driver, Steven Elmsly, remains hospitalized with unknown injuries. A dragster race car accidentally careened out of control, striking an embankment (foreground) and becoming airborne before landing in the smokehouse of Wing-In-It restaurant. The car's driver, Steven Elmsly, remains hospitalized with unknown injuries.
A dragster race car accidentally flew over the embankment (foreground) and into the smokehouse of Wing-In-It restaurant, hospitalizing its driver, Steven Elmslie of Bristol.

A dragster race car accidentally flew over the embankment (foreground) and into the smokehouse of Wing-In-It restaurant, hospitalizing its driver, Steven Elmslie of Bristol.

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A gaping hole remains in Wing-In-It smokehouse after a dragster racecar crashed into it on Thursday evening.

A gaping hole remains in Wing-In-It smokehouse after a dragster racecar crashed into it on Thursday evening.


A local racing enthusiast is at Rhode Island Hospital after he lost control of his dragster race car and crashed it into the smokehouse of Wing-In-It restaurant on Thursday evening.

According to witnesses, Steven Elmslie, 51, of Bristol recently purchased a dragster race car and, at around 5:30 p.m., was working on it outside Elmco Tool Company, a business he owns on Peter Road, located behind Wing-In-It restaurant.

As he and his crew of mechanics made adjustments to the engine, witnesses say that the car began a ‘burnout’ in which the tires spin while the car remains in place. On a racetrack, the maneuver is used to spin the rear tires to heat them up for better traction before the start of a race. Typically, the car remains in place while the friction of the rubber on the pavement creates a smoke show of burning rubber.

On this attempt, however, the tires gripped the pavement, sending the car and its driver across Peter Road, where it struck an embankment and went airborne, bouncing onto the rear parking lot of the restaurant before coming to rest inside the smokehouse.

The car is considered to be a “6-second car”, which in racing terms means that it will travel a one-quarter mile stretch in six seconds.

First responders pulled Mr. Elmslie from the wreckage and resuscitated him before he was transported to Rhode Island Hospital where he underwent surgery for internal injuries. As of early afternoon on Friday, his condition was listed as ‘critical’.

The restaurant remains open, however the smokehouse is shut down.

The accident is still under investigation by Bristol and State Police accident specialists, however Bristol Police Lieutenant Brian Burke said that it appears no charges will be brought against the driver.

“There’s nothing leading us to believe there was foul play. It’s being treated as an unfortunate event,” Lt. Burke said.

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7 Comments

  1. mrchairman said:

    “The car is considered to be a “6-second car”, which in racing terms means that it will travel a one-eighth of a mile in six seconds”

    Most likely six seconds in a quarter of a mile.

  2. NAto61 said:

    I’m pretty sure Mr Chairman is correct. 6 seconds in a 1/4 mile. Goes through finish line at well over 200 mph. We all look for a positive update on Steve’s condition. I am certain that car just grabbed the pavement and surprised him. At that point you just hang on. Hope to see him up and back at it asap.

    • harddrivin1le said:

      He’s wrong.

      While 1/4 drag races are more common, 1/8 mile drag races also occur – in both sanctioned and non-sanctioned events.

      The vehicle shown here would not be capable of running a 6 second 1/4 mile, so it has to be 1/8 mile car.

  3. Alcido Daluz said:

    The crash happened between 4:10 and 4:30 i was workin at the time and left work at 5pm. It seems to me that (a) gas cable broke therefore full throttle (b) throttle broke/or faulty was running fine till they tweek it as i would say then thats when he lost control it didnt sound right that last.time it was started last then.took off and crashed sometime with the throttle/ gas cable something broke to.make it go full speed and lose controle without brakin/ or opening the.shoot or usin a kill switch? Idk but somethin.went wrong and.i.knew it, hope he gets well soon, god bless

  4. Adam Palumbo said:

    Let me help fix this partially incorrect story, I was there, I work for Steve Elmslie, there was no burnout that took him by surprise and no mechanical adjustments, just test runs in the parking area which went very smooth, the last and unfortunate run is when the throttle got stuck, and when realizing this he didn’t have enough asphalt in front of him to do ANYTHING other than prepare for the worst. I hope this clears things up as to what really happened, and for now all we can do is give best wishes, positive thoughts and prayers towards his recovery.

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