For drag racers, a trip into the sand could be described as a case of good news, bad news. The good news is you went into sand and stopped, rather than the alternative, which would often be a line of unforgiving trees or maybe a ditch. The bad news is there’s sand in every nook and cranny of your race car, which you’ll still be discovering remnants of years down the road. It’s a place nobody wants to be, and most racers will gladly bald spot a set of tires to avoid a trip into the kitty litter. And so, naturally, you can understand Doug Cline’s personal frustration when he, purely by accident, went to the beach in his awesome Drag Week Unlimited 1969 Camaro.
Cline, who established himself as a street legal badass last year on Drag Week when he became the first racer in the history of the week-long event to record a six-second average elapsed time with a legitimate, steel-bodied car (most of his peers have since gone to lighter, composite-bodied cars as allowed by the rules). Earlier this month, Cline, along with a number of other Drag Week stars, including Larry Larson and Tom Bailey, took part in the inaugural Rocky Mountain Race Week — an event similar in design to Drag Week and contested at tracks in Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska.
The Bandimere Speedway near Denver served as home base for the event, and was also the site of two of the five days of racing activities.
Cline dealt with mechanical woes all throughout the week, during which he also had to press through more than 1,300 miles of driving. On the final day, after checking off a 350 mile trip from Kearney, Nebraska, Cline found himself with some fuel injection issues on his opening pass. That left his menacing twin-turbo Camaro running particularly sluggish off the line, but by 330-feet, was awake and charging. Unfortunately, Cline didn’t realize just how quick he was going — 191.46 mph through the traps — and opted not to pull the chutes. That proved to be a mental mistake that he was quick to kick himself for, as not even the inclined shutdown area at Bandimere could stop the 3,000-pound freight train. And off he went into the sand.
As you can see from the onboard, Cline is cool as a cucumber in the seat despite the obvious realization that he’s not going to make the turnoff. And then, as any racer would in such a situation, begins berating himself for his mistake, repeating “I’m an idiot. A bleeping idiot.”
Cline, his crew, and the Bandimere staff dig the Camaro out of the sand and after a once-over with an industrial-grade leaf blower, begin to assess the mess. The worst of it? A pair of Precision turbos completely filled to the brim with sand and pea gravel. No word on whether they’re paper weights, but it gives Cline all the more reason to be PO’ed at himself.