33. HANS HEYER ILLEGALLY STARTS (1977, F1, HOCKENHEIM)
RANK ON PREVIOUS LIST: 35TH
Failure to qualify is one of the most frustrating occurrances in racing. The idea of showing up and not getting anything for your trouble is pretty disheartening, which is why sometimes drivers don’t take it very well.
Hans Heyer, a driver known for his antics and entertaining driving style, was unwilling to remain on standby as a substitute driver when Formula One stopped by Hockenheim in 1977. He had qualified 27th in a year old Penske chassis, and as such was third on the substitute driver list, so three drivers had to be unable to race for him to get his chance on the track.
A first lap crash involving Alan Jones and Clay Reggazoni led to a fair bit of confusion amongst the competitors, during which Heyer’s team fired up the car’s engine and he took to the circuit. It took the officials nine laps for them to notice Heyer was on the circuit, and by the time a black flag was flown to get him off the track, Heyer was already ‘out’ of the race with a blown gearbox. This would be Heyer’s only start, if you could call it that, though the winner of the 1974 European Touring Car Championship would find further success elsewhere.
32. MAYLANDER HITS A POTHOLE (2004, DTM, SHANGHAI)
NEW TO LIST
DTM has wanted to race elsewhere for years. It hasn’t always gone too well.
For whatever reason, DTM and China just go hand in hand, and DTM has attempted several races in the country. In 2004, DTM made its first trip to China for a non-championship round through Shanghai’s streets, which according to Silhouet was supposed to act as a prelude to the inaugural Grand Prix of China that year. On the first lap of the first of two 30 minute races, Bernd Maylander, who is currently the safety car driver in Formula One, found himself coming to a sudden stop right out of the gate. According to motorsport.com, Maylander had no idea what had sent his Mercedes airborne at first, but found it to be a manhole when he stepped out of his car.
The race went no further, and most of the afternoon was dedicated to welding down the remaining manhole covers. Maylander’s car was too badly damaged to take the start of the second race a few hours later. Oddly enough, manhole covers would be an issue at the new permanent circuit the next year, with both Formula One’s Juan Pablo Montoya and V8 Supercar’s Mark Winterbottom colliding with covers during weekends. DTM seemingly found an audience in China, and returned to another temporary street circuit in Shanghai in 2010. They were planning on returning to the country for a street race through Guangzhou, near Hong Kong, in 2014, but it was cancelled and they have not been back since.
31. FIRE LORRY ROLLS (2011, TRUCK RACING, BRANDS HATCH)
RANK ON PREVIOUS LIST: 31ST
Tractor trailer racing is spectacular.
These big beasts need to have their speeds limited simply due to their weight, but are nonetheless pretty incredible to watch. Due to matching top speeds, passes have to be done in the corners. All trucks have water tanks for water to be sprayed on their brakes, and if those tanks run out, the brakes usually shatter within the next two minutes. But sometimes these trucks aren’t the big highlight.
During a tractor trailer race at Brands Hatch circuit in 2011, a Ford Ranger was the one putting on the show. During the event, a tractor trailer ended up on its door in Graham Hill Bend. With the driver still in the cab, several safety vehicles began rushing to the scene. One of the lorries rushing to the scene was a white Ford Ranger, with two occupants. Several fans were filming the rescue effort, only for all of them to jar their cameras towards Paddock Hill.
Seemingly slipping in diesel oil, the Ranger spun out and hooked over itself, sending the two men inside the truck for a ride and destroying the equipment in the back. The truck slid on its roof down Paddock Hill Bend before eventually flipping back onto its wheels. According to a post made to TenTenths, the occupants of the Ranger were injured, but walked away under their own power.
30. UTV CROSSES TRACK AT TRENTON (2017, MIDGET RACING, CURE ARENA)
NEW TO LIST
This was one I spotted myself.
The Battle Of Trenton was an indoor midget race held in February and December of both 2014 and 2016 in the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton. The 2016 runnings were two of the very few races I have ever actually been in the audience for, as few tracks are in my area. The entry list for the December 2016 running was poor and attendance was low, so organizers decided to change things up and switched from pavement to dirt for 2017. This meant few major names, but many more entries.
Being as the track is a tenth of a mile, there’s little room to move, and as such the safety crews use UTVs. However, it seemed one marshal zoned out, and as such, about halfway through the 40-lap main, a UTV hauling a flatbed crossed the track, from the pit area on the outside of turn three to the infield, during green flag conditions, almost being obliterated by leader Alex Bright. This moment made the list mostly due to the ridiculousness of a UTV being used as a transport vehicle at a race track instead of a pickup. It makes perfect sense, but it’s still a sight to behold.
The announcer, I suppose trying to save face, never mentioned the cause of the ensuing caution. I have no idea what happened with the marshal, but Alex Bright ended up losing the race at night’s end to Long Island’s Whitey Kidd III.
29. GLENN KINNERSLEY ROLLS ON A TOW ROPE (2003, FORMULA PALMER AUDI, SNETTERTON)
RANK ON PREVIOUS LIST: 28TH
Besides its pretty amazing to say name, Formula Palmer Audi was for the most part a fairly basic and moderately successful league for rising stars that ran for about fifteen years. It produced names like Justin Wilson, Andy Priaulx, and James Jakes. Glenn Kinnersley is remembered, though, for a different reason.
All right, onto the moment. Glenn Kinnersley found his car in the runoff during a round at Snetterton in 2003. With the car stalled, Kinnersley was forced to wait while the towing crew got ready to take his car off the circuit, during which he stayed in the car.
With a tow rope attached to the open wheeler, officials began to give the towing crew instructions. During this time, Kinnersley’s car began to be dragged sideways, something the marshals didn’t notice, being preoccupied in coaching the tow truck driver on where to go. Eventually, Kinnersley’s car was dragged so much to the side that it started to dig in, and when the marshals did eventually notice, it was too late.
Kinnersley’s car flipped in the runoff, overturning onto its lid and striking the marshal walking in front of his car, who was seemingly uninjured. Kinnersley himself was not injured, but the crash sure left him with a much larger repair bill than he had before.
28. FULLER AND VÉLEZ COLLIDE (1994, IMSA, PORTLAND)
RANK ON PREVIOUS LIST: 14TH
Portland International Raceway is an interesting circuit. Built upon the site of what was once a town before it was destroyed by a flood in the 1940s, this track, situated on an island in the city’s north end, is a flat and quick layout with some very fast sectors. It’s seen major events every now and again, and will be seeing another one in the Indycar Series in 2018.
In 1994, one of the series stopping by was IMSA, where WSC-class competitors Fermin Vélez and Hugh Fuller were the ones on the highlight reel. With eventual winner Jeremy Dale off in the distance, the duel between Fuller’s Spice SC89 Olds and Vélez’s Ferrari 333 SP for second was fierce. Unfortunately, it came to an end on lap 54 of what would eventually be a 75 lap race, when, according to motorsportmagazine, Vélez suffered a misfire entering the Festival Chicane. The late Spaniard’s car slowed up much more than Fuller anticipated, and Fuller, a brave driver with a basis in powerboats, shoved the Ferrari into a spin. When Fuller attempted to get by his rival, the Spice climbed over the top of the Ferrari and turned onto its side.
Fuller wasn’t hurt, and when he climbed out, his first priority was to flip the car back onto its wheels. With the lightweight prototype just barely balancing on its side, rolling it back was a one man job, and within a few seconds, Fuller was headed back to the pits, with Vélez’s damaged Ferrari not far behind. Vélez’s car was too badly damaged to continue, but Fuller continued on in the event, saved by a rainstorm that came shortly after the safety car period for the crash ended. He eventually finished fifth.