Leroy Magoon was attempting to qualify for his first template Super Late Model race at Michigan’s Berlin Raceway on Saturday. The 39-year-old driver has made plenty of Outlaw Late Model starts, but never in a template Super Late Model.
Unfortunately, Magoon will never forget his first Super Late Model attempt — but for all of the wrong reasons.
Magoon spun out in turn three and slammed into the yellow retaining wall. Almost immediately, flames erupted from the back of his race car. His car came to a stop with the driver’s side window of his car right next to the wall.
The Rockford, Michigan native thankfully was able to escape harm. With some quick thinking, Magoon was able to crawl out of the passenger window, around all of the roll bars, and get to safety as his car continued to burn.
“I hit the wall and I think it was darn near instantaneous. When it went, it went fast,” Magoon told Speed51.com. “I knew it was big when I was in there. I’ve been in fire, but nothing like that before. I knew it was going to be a big one. When the smoke got so big and I saw it coming up the sides I was like, ‘Oh crap I’m in trouble here.’”
That realization got even worse when Magoon looked out his window on the driver’s side and saw “a sliver of daylight at the top.”
“I knew I wasn’t going out the normal way. I took off the wheel like I should and undid my seat belt. Fire is a good motivator so I got out pretty quick.
“I had my 10-year-old in there cleaning and he was like ‘Man, dad it’s tight in here.’ Well, I’m a lot bigger than he is. So I made myself skinny and army-crawled out of there. It’s not meant to be that way but you have to make due with what you’ve got.”
Magoon said he’s still unsure of what caused the spin, as well as what caused the fire. He said he doesn’t know if something broke on the car, or if “I just lost it, but it whipped around, and around I went.”
He said that he thinks the impact caused the breather tube to fail, causing fuel to spray out, which led to the fire erupting.
“It sprayed fuel everywhere,” he said. “It actually caught some of the woods right next to the track on fire too, so it was quite the spray.”
Magoon said that while being inside of a burning race car is a “racer’s worst nightmare,” he said he’ll be back in a race car as soon as possible.
Now that he’s had a few days to get over the initial scare of the crash itself, Magoon said that the worst part about the crash, aside from losing a race car, is that he’s embarrassed.
“It’s pretty embarrassing to say you’ve spun in qualifying, but it is what it is.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Associate Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo credit: WJ Burke Photography