The sport of drag racing is inherently dangerous. From the fuels used to power the cars to the speeds achieved at the top of the quarter mile, there is danger lurking all around. Nitrous bottles exploding, wheels flying off due to a broken axle, driveshafts turning into pretzels – all of these things can take place during a typical day at the dragstrip. What’s not typical is a car going out of control during the burnout process and making its best attempt to knock the Christmas tree over. Unfortunately for Pro Modified racer Isiah Rojas, that’s exactly what happened to him this past weekend at the DragMania Music & Drag Racing Festival at Orlando Speedworld Dragway.
From the outset, all appears normal, until Rojas gets close to the starting line in his MechTech College-sponsored Chevy Cobalt Pro Mod machine. This car is capable of five-second elapsed times at well over 220 MPH, and we have to believe this is the last thing he thought would happen when pulling into the waterbox. Just after he crosses the starting line, his day goes from good to awful in the blink of an eye, as the car darts left and makes its best attempt to take the tree down. From our amateur analysis, it looks as if maybe the left front brake caliper locked up and pulled the car in that direction, but there’s so much going on in a short period of time that we can’t be sure. What we can be sure of, however, is that the OSW Christmas Tree is mounted more solid than any tree we’ve ever seen, in order to withstand a 2,500-pound car at full bore hammering into it and come out with nary a scratch.
It just goes to show you that anything can and will happen when strapping into the seat of a high-horsepower machine, so you’ve got to be prepared. Hopefully Rojas gets the car repaired and is back on-track in short order!