Date published: February 5, 2010
Former nitro Funny Car racer Russell Long returned home to Southern California Jan. 17 from Haiti, where he and nine fellow missionaries from Mission Viejo Christian Church were helping children at an orphanage when the monster 7.0 earthquake struck. "It seemed like the world was coming to an end. It shook forever. Thank God the kids all made it out OK," he said. The group spent several nights sleeping on a soccer field, where they helped set up a makeshift hospital, and they were finally able a few days later to reach their loved ones stateside to tell them they had survived the quake. Their church hired SOS Int'l to evacuate them to the Dominican Republic, then to Puerto Rico, and finally home to Los Angeles. They were greeted at Los Angeles Int'l Airport by news crews, and by their congregation at the church, where more news stations awaited, and a huge welcome-home party ensued.