Posted by on Sep 2, 2008 in Racing |

(Photos: Adam Desrosiers)

So my company‘s Pro Racing division headed for New Jersey Motorsports Park on Thursday, Aug. 28. The plan was to test all day in preparation for a Grand-AM KONI Challenge Series race on Friday.

NJMP is a brand-new track (and a good one, I hear, though I haven’t yet raced there). Newer tracks tend to be much safer than older ones; their designs incorporate all the latest knowledge on eliminating crashes where possible and minimizing injury when crashes do occur. But the proof is in the pudding; no track designer can anticipate all the things that can go screwy in a race car.

Exhibit A: Early in the test session, Scott Pruett – a fantastic driver and one of Grand-Am’s top stars – passed a slower car exiting NJMP’s final turn. Pruett lost control and hit a barrier that separates pit road from the main track. He destroyed his Lexus-Riley race car, as the pics above (snapped by a Flatout Motorsports crew member) demonstrate. Split the thing right in half.

Note, though, that the cockpit area is more or less unscathed. Pruett went to the hospital, came out not much worse for wear (though plenty sore) and raced that weekend, finishing ninth.

Once the wreck occurred, the track wisely shut down for the rest of the day and put in place new barriers that’ll prevent similar crashes in the future.