Even though this year’s Modified Tuner Shootout was yet again a great event with plenty of close competition and lots of excitement, it was after the shootout ended that really had my heart pumping and nerves on edge.
If you ask someone how dangerous the sport of racing automobiles is, most people will say it’s not that bad. We watch NASCAR and Formula 1 cars flip into the air, tumble sideways and 95 percent of the time the drivers walk away. Those machines are arguably the fastest in the world, so if they can survive a crash at 200 mph, then we should be able to do the same in our cars at speeds half that.
In most cases, we do. Drivers walk away unharmed, but as you will soon read, Tage Evanson, driver of the Hasport Civic that competed in our Tuner Shootout, suffered one of the worst and most dangerous accidents I’ve ever witnessed (page 56).
It reminded me again just how dangerous and potentially fatal our hobby/profession can be. All it takes are a couple of loose bolts and, all of a sudden, your car is engulfed in flames with little to no time to react.
I hope that you’ll take away some sound advice from Tage’s story and remember that as cheesy as it sounds, safety comes first. We think it can’t happen to us, but if it can happen to someone like Tage, the director of NASA Arizona and a veteran racer, it can certainly happen to us.
So be aware of your automobile, its mechanical state and don’t rush to finish things; sometimes its better to miss an event than go unprepared. Most important of all, always wear your helmet on track at the very least. As you’ll learn from Tage’s story, if he wouldn’t have forgotten his balaclava (sock that goes over your head) he could have walked away with less burns. But, unlike most of us who never practice exiting the car in the event of a fire, Tage did, and it most likely saved his life.
Be safe out there.
A Sneak Peek At Excerpts From This Issue
At the heart of every Mustang dyno is an air-cooled, eddy-current power absorption unit that’s designed to provide load in a very quick and responsive way. Tech Talk P.12
With three large air dams, this front end looks more like a racing bumper than an economy car, and it’s not all for looks either. First Drive P.20
It was hard to even feel that I had gotten lockup; the telltale gray smoke and acrid smell of the Continental slick being my only real indicators. Behind The Wheel P.54
If you have a heavy foot, then gas mileage will drop, but if you do a turbo upgrade and drive the car like you normally would, fuel economy shouldn’t suffer. Proving Grounds P.76
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