5. Azure Sea, Take Me Away (F1, Monaco and Hungary, 1995)
Take me away…
Taki Inoue…some of these moments are actually so strange that you can just say their name and people will know what you`re talking about. This is one…saves me a lot of work, I suppose.
…All right, brief summary.
How are you so unlucky as to get hit TWICE by the course car in one year? First was at Monaco. The Footwork broke, and a flatbed lorry started taking him back to the pits. Out of nowhere came the safety car, a Clio, being driven by rallyman Jean Ragnotti. The car was sent up and over onto its lid by the subsequent rear first impact, partially dumping Taki from the car. Taki was slightly concussed, having kept his helmet on, though his belts were undone. It turned out the Clio was being taken on a few sightseeing laps by Ragnotti. Officials said that they weren`t at fault, but said Taki wasn`t at fault either, and that he could use the spare car in qualifying. He ended up skipping the session, and would blow up early in the race. The ACO was not fined, and said they`d negotiate damages with Footwork head Jackie Oliver.
…This. He got hit by the course car while running over to his Footwork with a fire extinguisher to put out an engine fire. No wonder Taki left after the season.
4. Wheel Of Fortune (Hobby Stock, Bakersfield, Late Nineties)
Sometimes the most obscure of events can lead to the wildest of happenstance…that`s fancy talk for MOM GET THE CAMERA!
Featured on an episode of RealTV was an incredible incident at the Bakersfield Speedway, which saw a hobby stock driver by the last name of `Nolan` or something like that spin in turn three and strike a stalled car. The hobby stock, numbered 5, suffered a loose wheel in the incident. As he rounded turn 4, the wheel came off the frame and rolled alongside his car for a bit, then rolled back into the car. Somehow, the tire reattached itself to the #5 car. Of course, the tire was deflated, and the #5 was headed to this pits anyway, but it was still an unforgetable sight.
…The Internet, however, has seemingly forgotten about this incident, so little was available. Hence, it was time for some journalism.
First source was the track owner, a very nice man. He, unfortunately, wasn`t able to help too much, but he did say that the incident happened before he took over the track in 2003. RealTV ended after 2001, meaning this did not happen in 2002, and the host shown in the clip was not with the program in 2001, eliminating that year as well. Due to the show getting a new host in the middle of 2000, and not the end of the year, I can all but eliminate 2000 as the year it happened (remember, racing season starts in March, and while it`s possible that the tape owner sent in his tape to the program, and they aired it in one of their final episodes with the old host, but it`s a little doubtful the turnaround would be that fast). Beyond that, I can`t eliminate any further years.
I found a driver name in some results dating back to 2000, running a #5 car and possessing a very similar name to what was audibly heard in the clip, that being Raymond Noland, Sr. The Noland family has raced at Bakersfield for years, with Karl, Sr. and Raymond Noland, Sr. both finding a lot of success in the Hobby Stock division. Their sons, Karl, Jr. and Raymond, Jr., respectively, have picked up the torches. Karl, Sr. appears to still be racing, but Raymond, Sr. is retired.
So while the driver is almost certainly Raymond Noland, Sr., I don’t have a year. If you have any further information, let me know.
3. Yggdrasil (Australian Manufacturer’s, Bathurst, 2010)
This is the only moment that has been altered from the original list. In this spot on the original list I’d included Marcos Ambrose’s famous tire roll in 2001 during the V8 Supercars race in Canberra, but it was a moment that needed pictures to explain what happened, and there weren’t any, nor were there any very high quality broadcasts available. Unable to think of something else in what is now Virgin Supercar, I decided on this moment during the 2010 12h of Bathurst, also in Australia.
Bathurst is a strange circuit. It’s called a ‘semi-permanent’ track. It’s usually used for pedestrian traffic like a street circuit, but when it comes time to hold a race at Bathurst, the track’s permanently set-up. So on a normal day in Bathurst, those barriers, curbs, and signs are still there, but the road is being used by civilians. When it’s time to race, they just close the roads off and let the race cars loose, very little construction is required.
Bathurst is famous for its many elevation changes and for having both high and low speed sections. It’s absolutely fantastic. In fact, the track has such variance in elevation that its official name is ‘Mount Panorama Circuit’, after the mountain it climbs. But this could have easily killed someone in one of the weirdest incidents in racing history, when THIS happened.
Bathurst in the rain is extremely difficult. Bathurst in heavy rain and wind is downright insane. 2010 was in heavy rain and wind. You do the math.
…Yeah, this race wasn’t going anywhere anytime too soon. In fact, it was over, having gone between ten and ten and a half of the scheduled twelve hours. No injuries were reported.
Still, a tree falling and causing a race to end early? That’s something you’d expect out of a race in the early 1900s, not 2010. Also, in one last twist, the name of the turn that the tree came down in is Forrest’s Elbow. It’s after a motorcycle racer named Jack Forrest, who pretty brutally scraped away his elbow during a race in the track’s early years.
2. In Order To Know The Conclusion (Dutch Supercar, Spa, 2008)
So close, yet so far.
…Unfortunately, ris-timing.be, my source for the results of this race, has 404`d. Hence, I must do it from memory. My memory is quite good, but I will leave out a few things (mostly driver names), and won`t be able to answer them. Things I implied are in italics, because little was given.
Dutch Supercar allows in so many different cars that it`s absolutely hysterical. Seriously, an LMP3 car, a GT3 car, a GTC car, and a GT2 car (second incarnation of GT2, so late 2000`s) all race in the same class. Honestly, I could do FIVE blogs on the Dutch Supercar Challenge…so not to kill you from boredom I won`t do five. I will do one, but not now, let`s just get to the #2 moment. This will be long and confusing, so bear with me.
A safety car was warranted for a Porsche going off in the early stages of the first of two Dutch Supercar races at Spa in 2008. The safety car, which I will from now on refer to as a Seat (because that`s what it was), picked up an ex DTM Audi. However, the Audi wasn`t the leader, the Marcos Marcorelly in front was. Cor Euser, the driver of the Marcos, took off for some reason, likely to find a better place than the top of Eau Rouge, the most spectacular and possibly most dangerous turn in all of racing, for the Seat to pass HIM, so he could slot in as the leader. The Seat took off after Cor, maybe expecting the Audi, the Mosler GT900R behind the Audi (these three cars, the Marcos, the Audi, and the Mosler, were all in the same class), and the rest of the field to follow it, but the Audi kept its speed, and the fans were treated to an amusing sight of the SAFETY CAR chasing a race car.
Seeing the Seat right behind him, and possibly fearing a collision, Cor did not stop on Kemmel. After leaving Kemmel, the Seat`s driver was asked what he was doing by the officials, and was told to go find a place to park and let the entire field wave itself around. So the drivers were informed, and Cor let the Seat speed by to go find a place to do a full field wave around.
The Seat`s driver told officials after a little while that he`d found a place to park. This is when things became incredible.
Paul Hogarth spotted the Seat slowing down on the outside of Blanchimont, in the same line that he was in. Luckily for him, he was driving a Lamborghini Gallardo GT3! So he stomped on the brakes and slowed to the inside. Joost Den Ouden came across the Gallardo, in the same line he was in. Unluckily for him, he was driving an ex STW BMW…so he stomped on the brakes and couldn`t slow in time. Joost Den Ouden rode over the back of the Gallardo and angled off of it in such a way that he struck the slowing Seat`s driver`s side with his ROOF. The Seat shot off like an old street stock that just got struck in the door in a figure eight race at Slinger, as Joost Den Ouden`s car did several flips down the asphalt runoff of Blanchimont, coming to rest on its door. A few decent seconds passed until Jose Bermudez De Castro spun his Marcos Mantis, just missing the Lambo, and coming to a stop on the track. Not one, not two, but three BMWs proceeded to ram into Bermudez De Castro as he sat with his driver`s door facing traffic.
Unbelievably, no one was injured, but the race had to be stopped after just six laps, when apparently they had a 25 lap race planned. The win was given to Cor Euser.
Got that?…No? Well…tough.
1. In The Fires Of Ignition (USAC, Indy, 1971)
The first same day Indy 500 broadcast was in 1971 (it wasn`t actually LIVE, but was shown the same day, a first). The race itself wasn`t insane, but the pace car crash at the start of the race, well…yeah.
No major car companies wanted to provide a car, as muscle cars weren`t selling well. Enter Eldon D. Palmer, an Indianapolis dealer who headed a local effort to provide the track with several vehicles that could potentially be used as pace cars. In the end, they chose one of the cars, an open top Dodge Challenger. and in return Eldon was offered the position of pace car driver, to which he accepted. Eldon practiced his pace car run at least once the day prior to the event, and decided that he wanted to put down something as a marker for where to slow down. Some say it was an orange flag, and some say it was an orange cone. There are even those who say that he never put a marker down. However, Eldon`s intent to put the marker down can be confirmed (though again, whether or not he actually did so, along with what it was if he did put one down, no one knows). If the marker did exist, it was removed sometime before the race started.
Another unknown is where Eldon got a very bizarre idea from. In the mind of Eldon Palmer, he had to beat the race cars to the Yard of Bricks, or else…something. What he thought would happen is also unknown, but it seems likely that Eldon thought that, if the pace car had yet to cross the line when the leader did so, it would be a false start, and when the pace car DID cross the line, that would be a signal to the flagman to wave the green. It seems very unlikely that Eldon recalled this `rule` before his practice run, as if he had dashed down the pit lane at high speed, he`d surely have been told otherwise. There are a few more unanswered questions, but let`s get on to what happened.
On race day, Eldon, Tony George, ABC broadcaster Chris Schenkel, and special ride-along guest John Glenn all hopped into the pace car and led the field around. It was a healthy field, with several big names such as Al Unser, who would go on to win the race, AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti, Cale Yarborough, Mark Donohue, Denny Hulme, Donnie Allison, and Peter Revson. As poleman Revson held the inside of the front row and waited for the green, Eldon accelerated down the pit lane, reaching 125mph. He noticed that his marker was not where he thought it was, and mashed the brakes. The Dodge slid sideways and plowed over a massive photographer`s stand, injuring many but killing none, in an incident that didn`t even warrant a yellow. Schenkel was badly shaken and sat out the broadcast, but did not suffer any broken bones or sprains. George twisted an ankle. Palmer and Glenn were unhurt.
USAC chose to go with only professional drivers afterwards. Eldon held on to the car, later restoring and repairing it, until 2006, after which he sold it to a collector. The car, as of late 2014, was still in good shape. Eldon Palmer passed away on June 30th, 2016. He was 87.