NHRA’s Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals event has every year contained a common denominator = expect the unexpected….

But I don’t think anyone in attendance last weekend at Indy foresaw this one.

During a warm up lap for a pre-event hyped up match race between two legendary Pro Stock racers (from both the past and present) things did take a turn – literally.

The event schedule was to include some head-to-head exhibition runs between Greg Anderson and Warren Johnson in two equally prepared 2019 Chevy Camaros.

Warren Johnson’s first full test lap didn’t exactly go as planned.  During that single, the legendary Pro Stock driver looked more like a failed stunt driver when he inexplicably smoked the tires of his Camaro way too hard and long and then spun around hitting the opposite guard wall.   Needless to say that error in judgement was attention grabbing for such a storied driver who had made countless laps during his career — at much higher terminal speeds.

While the impact with the guard wall did appear to be not very intense (at approx the 500 ft mark) — to add some insult to injury — the Camaro’s safety airbags systems deployed – trapping WJ within the confines of the car until NHRA’s Safety Safari arrived on scene.   Reportedly GM’s On-Star system was also activated – with an agent talking with Warren while he waited (likely impatiently) in the car. (Wish we could of heard that conversation!!)

The jaw-dropping incident did dominate news headlines coming out of the event for pretty much the first half of this 2019 version Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals weekend – most probably to the chagrin of both a red-faced Warren Johnson (and NHRA’s marketing & media relations departments).  But it did also provide some comedic relief to what is otherwise non-stop drag racing event intensity.  It did have a lot of people snickering and seemingly everyone was in on the conversation.

The next day I did hear from a reputed car builder that the damage to the Camaro that Warren was driving was severe — he used the word’s “write off” for this $50,000 (?) version.

But you know what — I’m not so sure that junking this Camaro is in the cards.  I can certainly envision some rich folk/car collector/lifelong WJ fan out there who would just love to have this Camaro – even in it’s now damaged form – given the circumstances.   Now should the dealership choose to do that — I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it actually auctioned off at higher than the sticker price.  This Camaro truly is now a “one of a kind” Indy edition – and this world is wacky.  So let the bidding begin – LOL!

Post and photos by Bruce Biegler