We’ve taken many a number of ride alongs on some truly wild and destructive crashes in the past, but few can truly illustrate the moment and the forces at work better than this video footage from aboard Jon Baker’s nitrous-fed Ford Mustang as he got sideways and over on his lid at the Tennessee Street Outlaws event at the Knoxville Dragstrip just over a week ago.
Baker, vying to become one of the top 10 quickest Street Outlaw cars in the state of Tennessee on the fully unprepped Knoxville track, had a camera mounted on the passenger door of his Fox body ‘Stang facing the drivers side of the cockpit, and little could he have known this would later provide the perfect vantage point for an unbelievable ride.
Similar to the Street Outlaws format on television, the Tennessee Street Outlaws ranks their own top 10, albeit on a particularly slick, closed race course, rather than on the street. While this is certainly a safer situation for all involved, the lack of track prep can make for a treacherous adventure to the finish line in some rather high-horsepower machines, and Baker was one of the unfortunate victims claimed by the lack of traction that day.
At around mid-track, you can see Baker begin to get lose control as he saws back and forth on the wheel trying to reign the car in. The car enters a slide, crosses the centerline, and the tires finally dig in and send the Mustang hard onto its roof.
The impact is a brutal one, as the glass shatters into the cockpit and Baker is knocked around in the seat like a rag doll. From this vantage point, you’re able to witness his quick reaction to an event that no racer is truly prepared for without having been there and gone through it before — even for a 16-year racing veteran with an unblemished driving record like Baker.
As most racers in any genre are naturally inclined to do, Baker reaches up and grabs the roll bar above this head to brace for the impact. While this is the last thing you want to do in such an incident, Baker was very fortunate that the center of the roof wasn’t directly impacted, and no doubt he’ll chalk it up as a lesson to remember should he ever find himself there again.
Thankfully, Baker was uninjured and crawled under his own power from the car after it came to rest upside down, remaining calm and collected throughout, with not so much as a single four-letter word uttered. He and his team have already vowed to rebuild and return, and that’s certainly great news for the Tennessee racing scene. Stuff happens to the best of them, and this is proof positive.