Turning on the red light at the start of a race that you could have easily won is bad enough. Having the car you’re driving turn into a rolling inferno is worse, and Tom Bailey had to deal with both of those at the Shakedown At The Summit last weekend. Bailey was one of the quickest racers in the Pro Mod class behind the wheel of Keith Engling’s way-cool 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass, and he was a favorite to win the event until his day was cut short by the red light, and topped off with a booming, Funny Car-of-the-90’s-like explosion and fire.
Bailey is no stranger to the Shakedown — he has run the event before driving his own Drag Week Camaro and even won the Money Shot award for being the quickest car on the property. This year he got behind the wheel of Engling’s Olds to try and win the $40,000 up for grabs. The car was running well and had gone 5.72 with a .942 60-foot at 248 mph during qualifying, so it was more than up to the task of winning the whole deal.
During eliminations, things got ugly in a hurry, though, for Bailey when he lit the red light at the start of the race to end his weekend — but things got worse from there. At about the half-track mark the screw-blown engine that powers the Cutlass experienced catastrophic failure after a rocker arm broke. Bailey had a front row seat for one heck of a fireworks show as flames engulfed the front of the car as it sped toward the finish line.
Thankfully, the safety gear did its job keeping Bailey safe and damage to the car to a minimum. According to Engling, the damage was more superficial than anything, and if Bailey had won they would have made the next round!
Check out the footage from SpeedVideo that shows this BOOMING explosion!