Paul Pittman's first NHRA start also became his first NHRA flip.
In the first round of Sunday's Pro Stock division at the Mile High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Colorado, Pittman's car — one he built himself -- started to drift towards the center line as he headed towards the finish line against top seed Allen Johnson.
As he moved to correct, the car turned sideways as it crossed the finish line and flipped over. Thankfully, it landed on its wheels after just one rotation, but then Pittman slammed into the wall twice after grazing it and catching on fire after the final impact. Pittman was unhurt, and thanked the NHRA's rules for being able to climb out of the car unscathed.
"Well, just pretty bad about the car, that's what I feel bad about. My wife was pretty excited… but I tried not to hit the cones," Pittman said after his crash. "I felt it get a little fishy on me and I just started towards the cones and I tried to go correct it so I wouldn't hit a cone and next thing I know (the car) started washing back and forth and then the next thing she went upside down and then I saw that wall coming and I said 'Man, this is going to be a big hit' because we were going at a big clip anyways, I don't know."
"And I hit the wall, after I hit the wall then I said "Oh, well, got by that' and then it slid over and it went to the other wall and I said 'well, hold on for that one.' Because it doesn't look good either. The second impact wasn't as strong as the first. "
"But all the safety equipment, all of NHRA's rules that everybody complains and bitch about is the reason I'm standing here right now."