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Driver Walks Away From Crash After Flipping Vintage Race Car

Gif: YouTube

A driver at the WeatherTech International Challenge vintage races held at Road America in Elkhart, Wisconsin miraculously walked away from a crash over the weekend that sent his vintage race car flipping end over end.

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Jim Pace was driving the 1974 Can-Am Shadow DN4 during a qualifying lap alongside another Shadow. It’s hard to judge the speed by the video, but The Drive reports that the car was traveling at 180 mph when it took flight.

The Drive reached out to Pace, who not only wasn’t seriously injured but actually exited his car on his own and walked away from the catastrophic crash. He had this to say about the accident:

“Thank you all for the concern,” Pace said via email. “A wild ride along the front straightaway at one of my favorite racetracks. A bit of air got under the nose and lifted, then blew over backward sliding down the straight. The rescue crew was there immediately and I exited on my own. Sorry, this nice car was damaged with me as the driver.”

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A bit of air on the hill was all it took to turn this powerful vintage racer into a piss-poor airplane. The crash recalled similar crashes in the ‘80s and ‘90s, when various race cars would take to the air with the greatest of ease. Most notably, Mark Webber’s 1999 crash which sent a Mercedes Benz CLR cartwheeling through the air.

The crash shook up Pace, but the driver he was sharing the course with that day also knows a little something about how quickly a powerful car like a Shadow can become dangerous. Craig Bennett, who was driving alongside Pace in the other Shadow during qualifying, crashed a Shadow four years ago, except he suffered life-threatening injuries, Classic Car Journal reports.

The car Pace crashed is said to be a complete loss but the car Bennett crashed years ago was eventually restored to working order, so there may be hope for this one as well. Pictures post to Classic Car Journal show the tub is intact, though not much else survived of the car.

Managing Editor of Jalopnik.

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DISCUSSION

I love vintage racing because it allows us to watch cars like this being driven in anger. Which is awesome.

At the same time - where you have a car like this, with, presumably, a known aerodynamic ‘issue’, shouldn’t there be some sort of requirement that they be modified to address that issue (and if they can’t, then perhaps keep them from racing ... or govern their top speed)?  Pace is damn lucky to be alive - I’m assuming there are only so many ways that you can make a car like this ‘safer’ when it decides to take flight and backflip it’s way down the straight.  Not to mention the additional risks to everyone else on or near the track.