By Mary Lendzion
As most of his fellow racers and race fans know, Don Baskin is as devoted to racing as they come.
He has several different race cars for competing in several different categories at NMCA events, and at the series’ well-attended 18th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines in early March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida, Baskin belted into his GTO for ARP Nitrous Pro Street, and his Cobalt for Dart NA 10.5 presented by Diamond Pistons.
As always, he was prepared to give it everything he had to advance through the rounds, but his fun-filled weekend turned frightening when he had issues in each car — and subsequently impacted the wall in each car — during qualifying.
In his Cobalt, which is powered by a 411 cubic-inch engine built by Bischoff Racing Engines, Baskin was putting down some serious power in Dart NA 10.5 presented by Diamond Pistons when he ran into trouble on the top end of the track.
“When I went through the finish line, wind came across the track and got under the car and the front of it lifted,” said Baskin, who has help at the track and at the shop from crew members Jimmy Cochran and Mike Cates. “I pulled the chute, and that’s when I shot into the right wall. Thankfully, that wasn’t that hard of a hit.”
Those who wondered whether he would pack up and go home, and would understand if he did, found out what he’s made of when ARP Nitrous Pro Street was called to the lanes and he arrived in his GTO, which is powered by a new naturally aspirated 632 cubic-inch engine by BES Racing Engines. But once again, he ran into trouble, and this time, it was on the bottom end of the track.
“We had made five or six passes in the car, and had gone as quick as 4.62, before this happened,” said Baskin. “We believe I got into some fluid from under my car and lost traction. The car shot from the left lane to the right lane and hit the wall, and then shot back to the left lane and hit the wall. When the steering wheel broke off from the impact, I was along for the ride and couldn’t try to correct the car.”
Baskin had bruising on his neck and chest from the very hard hit that could clearly, and, hauntingly be heard from a distance, but said he’s feeling fine now.
As for the Cobalt, Baskin and his crew replaced the damaged quarter panel and re-wrapped the car, and Baskin has already had it at a test session not far from his home in Tennessee. The GTO didn’t fare as well, as Baskin referred to it as “toast.” Its engine will be put to good use, though, as it will power up the 2020 Jerry Haas Race Cars-built Camaro that Baskin had ordered prior to the crashes, and will campaign in ARP Nitrous Pro Street, possibly beginning with the Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA Power Festival presented by HPJ Performance, May 28-31, at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois.
“I’m really ready to get back to racing,” said Baskin. “You know me. I’m just plain ready.”