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1955 Chevy Flips at PPIR and Driver Walks Away!

1955 Chevy Crash Pikes Peak International Raceway Kelly Harvey Flip and Roll


Article by Rick Jensen. Video via ScubaSteveGTR.

When you’re watching a race, you never want to see a classic ride’s total destruction via barrel roll. And when you’re racing, you never want to hear, "Aw dude, he’s out the windshield!”

Unfortunately, both of those things happened in this video from Saturday, September 20. Spectators at Pikes Peak International Raceway were taking in an eighth-mile Colorado Street Outlaws event, when some serious contortion carnage took place.

It starts like many drag racing vids do: Two cars do a burnout; one is a two-tone ’55 Chevy, the other is a black second-generation Camaro, and both look hella fast. They stage up and launch hard—then, things start to go wrong in a hurry.

The bitchin’ Camaro spins on launch and tries to power through it. But the slicks never hook, and the Camaro starts to slide toward the centerline. The driver corrects left and gets off the gas, but as soon as he’s back on the throttle the black missile heads right again—toward the ’55 Chevy. The ’55 is slightly behind the Camaro and accelerating hard, and though the Camaro driver saves the car from crossing center, ’55 Chevy driver Kelly Harvey—who has a front-row seat to the Camaro’s devilish dance—prudently takes evasive maneuvers.

Harvey turns the ’55 Chevy to the right, but then overcorrects to the left. Now, the ’55 is almost crossing the centerline while dead even with the now-straight Camaro—not good. And just as they cross the finish line, Harvey turns right and gets off the gas in an attempt to avoid a wreck. Ironically, the ’55 instantly flips onto its top and starts rolling counterclockwise, violently rolling four times and twisting before landing on its wheels. Ouch.




And if that chunk-blowing experience wasn’t bad enough, what we don’t see is poor Harvey’s safety harnesses breaking loose, which results in him being tossed around like a rag doll and having his legs thrown through the now-empty windshield frame.

But just when you think the EMTs will be carting this poor meat bag off on a stretcher, Kelly throws open the mangled door of his mangled car, calmly takes off his helmet and strolls away like a slightly disoriented boss. According to a press release from Pikes Peak International Raceway, Harvey walked away with only minor injuries due to improperly mounted racing harness belts. "My seat belts were not mounted properly and pulled through the floor of the car,” Harvey said. "I’m grateful to the staff and safety crew at PPIR for such a rapid response to my situation.”

And so, as we rewind and watch a pair of flailing, discombobulated legs over and over, we can all laugh and joke about it now. But as soon as this piece gets posted, I’m heading out to the garage to check the seatbelt mounts in my ’57 Chevy. If you drive an older vehicle, or your belts are more than a few years old, I highly recommend that you do the same!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Rick Jensen (Turboguy)

Rick's a Turbo Buick and EFI GM nut who was born in Nebraska, then reborn on the mean streets of Queens, NYC. Spent high school and college wrenching and racing before moving to NYC and spending 13 years as the editor-in-chief, editor, and writer for some of America's best automotive magazines, websites, and ad agencies. Favorite moments include running low 10s in my Turbo Buick, Exposing GM's weak-assed early CTS-V drivetrains, road racing Corvettes and Camaros, and doing high-boost launches to make my kid laugh.
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