Nitrous oxide is unquestionably one of the greatest single power-adding options out there for the high performance street and drag racing markets. While there are certainly more powerful options, they simply can’t match the ease of installation and the flexibility that nitrous offers. On the other hand, using nitrous is a lot like playing with fire (okay, actually it’s a lot like playing with fire, as you’ll see in the videos below) in that if you don’t know what you’re doing, its better off left alone. Without further ado, we present some of the finest examples of drag racing pyrotechnics shows courtesy of nitrous oxide setups gone bad.
If there is such a thing as worst case scenario in a nitrous explosion, this particular one involving Big Dog/Pro Modified racer Donnie Krusinski is probably petty darn close. At this Big Dog event at Piedmont Dragway in North Carolina, Krusinski’s Monte Carlo backfires instantly at the drop of the hammer, and wastes absolutely no time erupting into a bonafide four alarm blaze. Even watching the video there are some tense moments as the entire car engulfed in flames so quickly that Donnie couldn’t react quick enough to unbuckle and get away before the rest of the car began to burn. Luckily he was able to safely get out of the car, but this is undoubtedly one of, if not the worst explosions turned fires that we’ve ever seen.
This one is rather interesting and unique. Typically in nitrous backfires/explosions, they pop once and burn, but this one had a little bit of a temper. Once on fire, something causes it to continue exploding in what sounds like a shower of gunfire, sending the fire extinguisher-wielding safety crew scrambling away from the car. This one stayed relatively confined to the engine compartment, but it was pretty stubborn about going out. While we wait, marshmallows anyone?
This one isn’t quite the raging inferno seen in some of our other selections in this article, but it’s quite an attention-grabbing bang nonetheless. This C6 Corvette makes it about ten feet off the starting line at Island Dragway in New Jersey before the nitrous system backfires in glorious fashion. The clearly surprised driver quickly scrambles out the door and away from the car while the track crew extinguishes the small fire in short order. His ‘Vette doesn’t seem to be in too bad of shape, but this guys pride was probably in the gutter along with his composite LS intake manifold.
Nitrous Pro Modified racer Jeff Rodgers’ explosion at last years Shakedown at E’Town may well be the most recorded nitrous explosion in drag history, with multiple videos from different angles around the track floating around YouTube, Streetfire, and other sites. This one was particularly scary for a couple of reasons. Rodgers attempt looked fairly routine until the crew leaned in to make final preparations before staging, when the Executioner Mustang experienced engine issues. As a crewman was leaning into the passenger side of the car to find the problem, with the engine completely silent, she went off in a big way. A small fire ensues, but was enough to get the right arm of the unsuspecting crewman. Secondly, its after a car takes the tree that all hell is expected to break loose. Not only did Rodgers’ car go off before even rolling into the beams, but the engine ignition had been cut and we assume he was pumping the throttle while trying to crank the engine, activating the nitrous.
The explosion by this Camaro at Thunder Valley Raceway Park in Noble, OK begins rather unpretentiously as the driver puts the engine up on the chip and backfires just before the ambers drop. But as the camera pans away with the other car, we hear a much larger second bang that sends the fiberglass hood over the front of the car and becomes a raging blaze in a hurry. Parts from the car can be seen strewn across the starting line and out into the grass and once extinguished, a pile of parts can be seen laying beneath the car as a lesson of what an unhappy nitrous oxide system is capable of.