Earlier this week we shared a photo of a Funny Car on social media with a rather significant fire under the body, which incited plenty of chatter and questions from our readers. Now, there’s some video of the incident which paints an even more frightening picture of what actually occurred.
Though ownership of the car and the names of the individuals involved are unknown, the car you’re looking at is the original Skoal Bandit 1989 Pontiac Trans Am piloted by hall of famer Don “The Snake” Prudhomme during the ’89 NHRA campaign. This was the last Funny Car that Prudhomme ever drove before he moved to Top Fuel for the final time in 1990. Prudhomme sold the car, in perfect working and running condition, at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale last year, and it evidently found a home that was willing to give it the retirement it deserved …. by filling the tank with CH3N02 and lighting the candles.
Unfortunately, with an engine and fuel this volatile, things can still go awry sitting perfectly still, and at this weekend’s PPG Goodguys Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, it did for this group. With a crowd assembled at the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair for the annual fire-up of nostalgia drag racing machinery, the wick was lit … literally on the Skoal Bandit. A few seconds into the show, the crewmember manually cracked the throttle at the injector, which kicked something loose in the left bank and ignited a sizable fire under the body. The crewman was momentarily consumed in flame — instinctively, he bailed out, ejecting himself onto the pavement. According to reports, the crewman suffered burns and is recovering in a Columbus hospital this week, while the driver sitting in the cockpit escaped without injury.
The moral of the story, of course, is that no matter how confident and competent you feel around a nitro-burning engine, never, ever take them lightly.