Thomas Borrell, better known in the racing community as “Turba Tom,” tragically lost his life in a racing accident while competing at the Rocky Top Diesel Shootout 9 at the Crossville Dragway in Tennessee on Saturday afternoon. Borrell, 34, from Quarryville, Pennsylvania, was competing in his 5.4-second (1/8-mile), purpose-built RAM pickup when his machine failed to stop at the close of a run and ran off the end of the raceway. Borrell reportedly entered a wooded area at a high rate of speed and came to rest on a river bank beyond the shut down area’s terminus. An eyewitness said Borrell’s parachute deployed and that it appeared the truck nosed over as though the brakes were applied, but it did not slow before the end of the track.
Borrell was a well-respected figure in the diesel drag racing community, and was also a popular YouTube and social media content creator, giving diesel drag racing fans and followers around the world a look behind the scenes at his successful grassroots racing endeavors.
“I don’t even know what words to say. We were having an awesome day dialing in your bump, taking you to Waffle House for the first time, and once again doing our favorite thing: going racing,” teammate Whitley Peterson said via social media. “You were the prime example of what a racer should be, with a great attitude and willing to help anyone for any reason. You set the standard high for everyone else and it was an honor to be your teammate this year. Unfortunately our first pass today will be our last pass together. I’m going to miss our conversations dearly and the fun we had bouncing ideas of how to make this truck faster.”