Great Lakes Dragway in Union Grove, Wisconsin on Saturday, October 6, 2012, was the scene of the dramatic but fortunately non-injurious crash shown in the video above. After the Chitown “King of the Streets” VIII race, competitor Tom Urbik contacts the wall during a grudge match. As the clip explains, KOTS is a “no prep” event where the track is stripped down to bare pavement beforehand, and traction is the limiting factor for most competitors, but the final run for Urbik happened after the event had officially come to an end and the track crew had sprayed and dragged the pavement.
First, we’re introduced to Tom Urbik and his “stock suspension” (which in this case means IRS and leaf spring) C3 Corvette, packing a 540 CI engine stuffed via a huge single turbo under (mostly…) the hood. Tom says that the combination made about 2,000 horsepower on an engine dyno, and we have no reason to doubt it, considering the sheer size of that hairdryer peeking out of the nose of this Chevy.
Then the racing begins, and we see this isn’t exactly Winternats. Spectators crowd around the burnout box and line the track walls, leaning in to get a better look as the cars skate down the unprepared track surface. The first run is completed without incident, and pass #2 shows a burnout that will put chills down your spine if you’ve ever been close to a really quick car on the line – four (presumably) crew members all hold the car back while the big rubber boils, just one slip away from going under the car.
As the Corvette lines up against a Fox-body Mustang, one person has to be pulled out of the line of fire behind the starting line by a friend, and we get to see some dramatic bump-staging. Another bullet is dodged as both cars make clean passes through the traps, though the Corvette is trailing smoke for the last 100 yards or so.
Night falls, and it’s time for a third post-race grudge run. Once again, we get to see the hoodie-clad support team hold the Corvette back in the burnout box with their bare hands, and Tom stages up. The tree drops, and at the 60-foot block, the Corvette makes a move to the left, toward the spectator-lined wall. Several pendulum swings ensue as Urbik fights the wheel to straighten out, then gets back on the power again – he would subsequently explain that he got the throttle while trying to hit the brake.
The results are predictable – this time, no amount of steering lock will keep the car off the wall, and a big impact is followed by a short fire, and calls over the PA system by the announcer of, “Clear the line! Clear the line!” Fortunately, the fire dies and Urbik is out of the car under his own power almost immediately. We get to see an instant replay from the on-board camera, and then the aftermath is shown.
When all is said and done, what is Tom’s reaction? “Well, I guess I have to put twins on it…”