When I first saw this video, my reaction was to blast the driver and make an example out of him, but after stepping back and gathering a little information on the driver himself and read comments from one of his crew members, I realized that’s really not the approach I want to take. It turns out the driver, whose name I’m leaving out to protect him from further ridicule, which he’s already gotten plenty of, truly did make a rookie mistake based on what he was told about the tuneup in the car. Allow me to explain.
From my understanding, this driver has some experience on the track, but not in a car as powerful as this Nova. Stepping up is always a daunting task, and there’s much to learn about the new car and the way it behaves on top of dealing with the intimidation of a lot more horsepower. It’s not too hard to get overwhelmed by the whole situation and sort of “freak out”, especially when something doesn’t go according to plan.
This driver had made a couple of passes with the twin turbo powerplant in his Nova turned way down to give him a feel for the process of doing a burnout and staging with turbos. For the pass in this video, the decided to crank the power way up to really get him some trial-by-fire experience behind the wheel. He was told they were bringing in more power and bringing it in early, so there is a good chance the car would lose traction not far off of the line.
That’s not what happened, though. Instead, the car left hard and blew a transmission line, spraying the super-slick fluid onto the track and under the car’s tires. As you’d expect, this sent the tires into an instant loss of traction and sent the car sliding out of control across the track. The driver, not being familiar with what happens when a car like this drives into tirespin, just though he had smoked the tires, a logical conclusion to make, especially since he was told it was likely to due to the tuneup. Not thinking the car may have broken something or spilled fluids, he gathered it up – and did quite a job keeping the car off the wall and upright, if I do say so myself – and quickly returned to his lane and got to the finish line. Of course, he was leaking fluids and managed to leave fluid in both lanes, something I’ve only seen one other time personally, leading to a cleanup that took nearly two hours.
He’s learned from the incident and will be adding radio communications so his crew can communicate with him from the line, in case they need to tell him to just ease over to the side of the track and shut off in the future.