A beautiful day of racing at Mid American Motorplex suddenly got a bit more exciting than anyone was expecting resulting in the closest near collision you may ever see on camera.
This past Saturday I was out at Mid American Motorplex getting in the last laps of the season with 10 of my friends, and about 20 other individuals. We had been having a great day, and in what ended up being my last session, I had been leading one of my friends for a few laps pushing pretty hard to find a bit of time in the corners. We were racing under strict point-by passing, where the driver ahead must give an arm out the window point to signal the car behind to pass in a designated passing zone. One full point is required for each car allowed to pass, and the driver being passed moves off the race line and lets off the throttle to make things safer.
Wanting to follow my friend in the blue STi, I gave him the point by on one of the shortest passing zones on the track so I could follow him through some corners I have been working on finding a better line through. I gave the single point by, let off, and by the time he was past we were already into the braking zone as I moved back on the racing line. At nearly the last second I saw another car in my peripheral vision, a Boss 302 that violated the passing rules and tried to make it by to chase down the blue STi. Begin Matrix time.
Hard on the brakes and steering right to avoid another car at 100mph going into a corner is never a place you want to find yourself in, but I was already committed. The Mustang had put two tires off and locked up as I came back on the race line and started to spin, so as he came across the track at me I continued to move toward the right side of the track to allow more room between us as I tried to get stopped before crashing into him. To the bewilderment of the Mustang owner I was able to stop short and not hit him as he came around (you can see him watching for it in the slow motion replay) and I came to a stop as he entered the soybeans planted around the track. With an exasperated and frustrated comment to my passenger that I only gave a single point by, I headed in to the paddock to discuss the incident with the other driver and assess the damage.
Fast forward to later that night when I got home, and reviewed the video before bed and saw just how close we had come to touching, I had to get up and go check over the car again. From the still shot, it seems that we defied the laws of physics for a moment, and somehow avoided any contact, though I don't think you could have fit a sheet of paper between us.
After the incident the other driver told me he believed there had been a second point by, and went for the pass despite it being one of the shortest passing zones on the track with barely enough room for a single car to pass. I believe it was a learning experience, and we will both do things a bit differently next time.