While NMCA West Lucas Oil NA 10.5 driver Bryan Cobbett and NMCA Quick Lane at Downs Ford NA 10.5 driver Dwight Ausmus were ready for the Street Car Super Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, they ran into trouble in the first round of Junior Pro Stock qualifying Nov. 17, 2016, when Cobbett’s ’04 Mustang made a move to the right at the 1,000 foot mark.
“I heard something in my engine and backed out of it, and that’s when my car made a hard right,” said Cobbett, who was in the left lane. “I tried to correct it, but it wouldn’t correct. The car hit the wall and then slapped the back end against the wall and stayed against the wall until I came to a stop.”
Meanwhile, Ausmus was forced to make a hard move to the left in his ’72 Firebird to avoid hitting Cobbett’s Mustang, and while he was indeed able to avoid hitting Cobbett’s Mustang, the maneuver forced his Firebird into the wall.
“After 25 years of making passes down the track and not having any accidents, I’ve been very blessed,” said Ausmus. “Bryan took a significant hit into the wall, and I’m just glad he’s okay.”
Both drivers are hopeful that their chassis were not compromised, though Cobbett’s Bob Panella-built small-block Ford engine was pushed back a couple inches upon impact, and the right side and front of his car are severely damaged. According to his RacePak data, he hit the wall at five Gs, and was treated for a fracture in his tailbone and severely bruised foot and knee. Like Ausmus, this was his first wreck in 20-plus years of racing.
Ausmus’ Firebird, which he built through the years with his dad, will need a new front nose, fenders, hood, radiator support and possibly more.
Cobbett was fresh off a win at the final NMCA West race of the season, and Ausmus — who qualified in the top spot five races in a row in his BES-built Pontiac-powered Firebird — was fresh off a runner-up at the final NMCA race of the season. Both finished in second place in points in their respective categories.