More than two weeks after Orlando Speedworld Dragway’s big No Guts No Glory grudge race, the hits just keep on coming. Literally. And this tie, it’s the hit that brought a conclusion to an evening during the event.
Garrett Denbleyker was among those on hand to get in some good old fashioned, winner-take-all grudge racing with his Cadillac CTS-V, but during a late evening run, things went terribly awry when he lost traction and stuffed the luxury-meets-performance car head-on into the concrete guardrail, all of which captured by Hans at Free Life Films. According to Denbleyker, he’d waited more than four hours to get in a run and the temperature had dropped considerably down to the low 50’s prior to his one and only pass of the day. With a goal of breaking into the 10.70’s with his manual transmission combo on slicks and this being his only run, he was planning to push as hard as the track would allow.
His critical mistake, he admits, was turning off the traction control for this particular run, which in hindsight, would’ve aided him considerably on the cold racing surface. Perhaps compounding the issue was that he and the rest of the racers had waited more than an hour while another mishap was cleaned up, and as just the third pair out, there was even less warmth in the racing surface.
According to Denblyker, after doing a pair of burnouts to get a feel for the surface, he launched the car at 2,000 rpm and encountered immediate tire spin. He backpedaled and got back in it, only to get more tire spin. He shifted into second and spun again, and then put the car into third gear. Because the car had generally hooked well in third, he says, he put the hammer down after the gear change and took an abrupt turn to the right, slamming into the wall at an estimated 60 to 80 miles per hour with all the force of its 4,600 lb. rolling weight. And although unconfirmed, rumor is the onboard OnStar safety system triggered an alert that dispatched an ambulance to the race track.
“When I hit third gear, I floored it with a little more confidence because I never break loose at a race track in third, and since I had slicks, I figured I’d be okay. Well, I was wrong. When the car broke loose, I figured it’d keep going straight so my reaction to let off the gas wasn’t very fast. When I realized I was going sideways, I tried to correct it slightly since I didn’t want to overcorrect.”
Fortunately, Denbleyker was wearing a helmet and didn’t sustain any major injuries other than a sore right arm, neck, and pride. And, while others in his position may have responded harshly to the criticism of the incident, Denbleyker handled it all with professionalism, admitting he made a mistake and apologizing to those racers behind him were unable to make a run. As he shared, the Caddy is set for repairs in January, and he’ll be returning to the track with a whole new perspective on straight-line racing.
“I know I’ll get a lot of smack talk over my “skills”. Which, how hard is it to drive in a straight line? Up until that incident, I’d have said pretty damn easy!”