A private no-prep event held at an Ohio dragstrip turned sour on Saturday when a a well-known racing machine impacted the guardrail and caught fire, resulting in its complete destruction and leaving its driver with minor burns to his hands.
Nick Plewniak, known for his one-of-a-kind patina-ed “Dirty 30” 1939 Plymouth Sedan, was racing Joe D’Ambrose in his Fox body Mustang at the Edgewater Sports Park in Cleves, Ohio, when Plewniak’s machine went out of control and struck the opposing guardrail nose-first, sending it onto its roof, ultimately coming to rest on its side.
D’Ambrose, in an evasive maneuver in response to what was happening directly in front of him, also lost control and spun out, coming to rest within mere feet of the Plymouth. With fuel spilled on the racetrack, and potentially with a spark provided by the hot exhaust from D’Ambrose’s Mustang, the fuel trail, and thus the Plymouth, were quickly engulfed in flames.
As you can see just as the clip ends, Plewniak jumped from his car within 5-seconds of the blaze sparking.
Plewniak escaped with minor burns to his hands, but was otherwise uninjured. D’Ambrose’s Mustang suffered moderate fire damage and was driven off the track. Plewniak was quick to credit his fire suit and other safety equipment — equipment he says was rated beyond the requirements of his vehicle specs and speed — for allowing him to escape the incident.
“The 30 is done for and will never race competitively again,” Plewniak said on Sunday. “There was a pretty severe fire that I managed to get out of pretty quickly. I’m happy with a car that I built and can’t be happier with the way the cage/chassis held up, considering how bad it could’ve been and how well the safety gear that I recently purchased protected me.”
“The car has some more war wounds. It definitely has character,” D’Ambrose stated Sunday. “I didn’t hit anything, all the damage is fire damage from Nick’s car that burst into flames. Terrible day for him, his pride and joy is a total loss. Mine is just a little crispy, but I drove it off the track and into the trailer. We’re all good and will be back out shortly.”
Video credit: Chris Bice