How freakin’ hardcore are drag-and-drive competitors?
Most of these guys and gals are self-admittedly out of their minds for signing up for these horsepower-infused road trips of exhausting proportions, so any story that comes out of these events should really come as no surprise to anyone, but Stefan Rossi just might lead the pack with his “war story” from this week’s inaugural Sick Week adventure.
Rossi, an engine builder by trade and a native of the U.K. who moved to the United States in 2019, was one of the most anticipated entrants at Sick Week, a five-day-long tour of Florida and Georgia that started on Monday and runs through the close of the work-week. Rossi put the finishing touches on his sleek ’66 Nova in the days preceding the event — his classic Chevrolet features some 3,000 ponies from a twin-turbocharged Dart LSNext engine combination.
Sick Week - Nova Crash
Unfortunatley our first wreck of the week here at Sick Week...driver is okay. Get your SLM merchandise here! - www.straightline-media.com/shop Thanks to our amazing sponsors Menscer Motorsports LLC Black Rock Photography COOLSHIRT SYSTEMS Hyperaktive Performance Solutions Five Star Powder Coating KC Photography Stick Shift Syndicate Drag IllustratedPosted by Straight Line Media on Monday, February 7, 2022
But Rossi’s grand debut was quickly spoiled on the opening day of the road show at the Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida when the lower radiator hose exited the stage at what was likely approaching 170 to 180 miles per hour, sending Rossi sliding through the shutdown area and ultimately into the wall.
Did Rossi quite? Absolutely not.
He and his camp could have called it a day then and there knowing there were hundreds of miles of other potential battles ahead, and went home licking their wounds. But they surveyed the car, found that everything was superficial, patched up the damage to the front and rear corners, made their mechanical fixes, and soldiered on to Orlando and then to Gainesville.
Those other battles that lie ahead? Yeah, those happened, too. On the drive from Orlando to Gainesville, heavy rainfall damaged the ignition box, and Rossi parked the car on the side of the highway and called an Uber to drive 85 miles each way to get a replacement. And then fixed it on the side of the road. He made it to Gainesville and only turned in a 10.54 at 138 mph time-slip Wednesday, leaving him ninth in the popular Ultimate Iron class (Steve Morris leads it as of this writing with with a stout 6.85-second average) but survival was the only real goal. Survival is usually everyone’s goal, the rest is just a bonus. That determination to survive earned Stefan Rossi “legend” status this week.