The thrill and excitement of NHRA Funny Car racing comes from the fact that crew chiefs have managed to harness thousands of horsepower, all in the pursuit of going fast. Even with the roar of open headers, it can be easy to forget that really what we’re hearing are thousands of controlled explosions per minute. Most of the time these explosions stay under control, but when things go boom, they tend to do so in a spectacular way.
Lesenko has had a bit of a tough season, managing to qualify for just 9 out of 22 races and scoring just four round wins. However, that doesn’t mean Lesenko hasn’t put on a good show. Quite the contrary, as he and his team have run some pretty tight races at the events they did qualify for and garnered some extensive airtime in rather undesirable ways for their sponsors at some of the events where they didn’t make the show.
This latest massive backfire happened at the season finale at the Auto Club NHRA Finals, and owner/crew chief Jim Dunn summed it up as another unlucky parts failure. As the slow-motion video shows, everything was going fine for Lesenko until suddenly…BOOM! Flames wrap around the car, lifting the expensive Chevrolet Impala body up and over the frame, exposing Lesenko to the elements. A similar accident happened to Lesenko twice back in September at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals.
Amazingly, Lesenko was unharmed, but it was certainly an expensive and unfortunate way to end a tumultuous season.