It’s an all-too common sight at drag strips these days — spectators and loosely affiliated crew members crowding the starting line in front of, beside, and around racing machinery, seemingly oblivious to the rare but ever-present danger that exists when in close confines to something that outweighs you perhaps 15-to-1 and contains umpteen volatile moving parts.
Bad things don’t happen often on the starting line, but they can, and even officials and media who have clearance to be there can easily become complacent given that fact, confident that nothing can go wrong or that it won’t happen to them. Axles break, engines and drivetrains detonate, drives lose control. Any number of things can go wrong, and it’s a forgotten reality … that is, until it happens.
Videographer Justin Malcom illustrated this well while he was filming some grudge racing action at a small Georgia strip earlier this month, when a second-generation Camaro sheared its driver’s side rear wheel studs off while performing a burnout. Despite the efforts of track security to keep the starting line clear, a crowd had assembled, and that was bad news when the Camaro briefly got away from the driver — as you can see, the nose and right rear quarter panel struck a couple of bystanders and knocked them to the ground (and startling those it didn’t level), and the wheel itself flattened a couple of others, but fortunately, Malcom confirmed that none were seriously harmed in the melee. Hopefully, however, all of those that had a front row seat to this show and were able to walk away from it will think twice about posting up on the starting line in the future.