There’s a lot that can go wrong when you’re racing, and you do everything possible to be prepared any situation. But often the worst kinds of problems come from things you never can prepare for, and veteran Don Baskin found himself facing one of those issues at the NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem event behind the wheel of his GTO when the steering shaft broke at speed.
The NMCA’s Nitrous Pro Street (NPS) class is known for an eclectic collection of cars capable of making mid to low 4-second passes in the 1/8-mile. Baskin is a veteran of this class and won the championship back in 2014, and he came to Bradenton Motorsports Park looking to kick off another run at the NMCA NPS title in 2020.
When the final session of qualifying for NPS came up on Friday, Baskin hadn’t made a full pass yet, so his goal was to make it down the track. Since Baskin and his team have raced for many years they had the GTO tuned up and ready to make a solid run, but then the unthinkable happened: just past the 60-foot block, Baskin’s GTO spun the tires and began to sashay across the track. The car crossed into the other lane before it appeared that he regained control of the Pontiac.
Unbeknownst to anybody other than Baskin, the GTO’s steering shaft had broken in two and he was just along for the ride. The car made another big move before it slapped the right wall and shot across the track, striking the opposite wall head-on. Thankfully, Baskin wasn’t seriously hurt in this wild run, but his race weekend was over after the crash.