It was a scary scene in the later stages of the season opening Modified event at Pennsylvania’s Big Diamond Speedway on Sunday afternoon. About seven cars were involved in a horrific crash, with one car pirouetting on its rear end before coming to a stop on its wheels at the entrance to turn one.
The incident, which occurred with less than five laps to go, started when Andy Burkhardt slammed the outside wall on Big Diamond’s frontstretch before he went into a 360 spin. As Burkhardt’s spin was beginning to slow to a stop he was slammed by Justin Grim.
The right rear tire on Grim’s red No. 61 hit Burkhardt’s white No. 16 with such force that it sent him into the air and then into a roll. Grim’s car quickly rolled over once before pirouetting like a ballerina on its rear wheels and then coming to a stop a few feet away from Burkhardt.
Right after Burkhardt got hit by Grim he got slammed by the white and blue No. 96 of Jim Bobbitt. Two other cars crashed to the right of Burkhardt, Grim and Bobbitt as well.
Speed51.com powered by JEGS spoke with Grim on Monday morning to get his take on the incident.
“You couldn’t see down the front straightaway from I’d say lap five of the feature because of the sun and the dust,” said Grim. “And there was a car smoking, too. But that’s just day racing, it’s going to be dusty. There isn’t anything you can really do about that.”
Grim was battling for position with another driver when he happened to spot the spinning car of Burkhardt. He was able to spot Burkhardt’s car in the dust just before they made contact.
“I didn’t see Burkhardt until I was probably five feet away,” Grim said. “It was just a cloud of smoke and dust. I was lined up and trying to get around the car in front of me. I had my left front tire lined up with that guy’s right rear. The guy in front of me ducked underneath him. When I saw him I was lined up bumper to bumper with him.”
At that point, Grim he said he jumped on his brakes and turned the car to the left to avoid slamming head-on into Burkhardt.
“When I saw him I got on the binders and I twisted it so I didn’t hit him head on,” Grim said. “I think I just caught him with the right side door.”
Grim said he feels fine after the crash, but he does have some bumps and bruises here and there. However, his car is mostly destroyed just one race into the season.
“Pretty much every bolt-on piece is wrecked,” said Grim. “We might be able to save a tube off the rear. It ripped the driveline right out of it. Basically everything that is hooked to the rear is junk. We can maybe use the spindles off the front of it.”
He explained that he and his team are in the finishing stages of building a big block Modified to run at Bridgeport Speedway (NJ) this year, so they ran his small block car on Sunday at Big Diamond. That’s something that Grim regrets doing.
“I almost wish I would have ran the big block,” said Grim. “That’s an older car. This (crashed car) was a pretty new car.”
Grim said he didn’t get to personally talk to Burkhardt after the incident, but he did ask to find out if he was okay and Grim was told that Burkhardt was fine.
Speed51.com’s attempts to contact Andy Burkhardt and Jim Bobbitt were unsuccessful as of print time.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor -Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo credit: Bob Yurko
-Video credit: GSPRacing