Richard Golinello wants to set the record straight about his accident with BOSS 302S VIN #001 at Mid-Ohio in August. That is why he contacted us regarding the incident where his car, “Boss One”, was turned into a wall at 80 mph, doing serious damage that should have sent the racing Mustang to the junkyard. But it didn’t, and Rich wanted you to know that since then, the first BOSS 302S off of the assembly line is back together and on the track. But that is only half of the story of how Rich came to own, crash, and repair a car that is forever the first of its kind.
Much like the saga of the street legal BOSS 302 Mustang with VIN #0001 purchased by StangTV contributer Shane McGlaun, Rich’s story of the first BOSS 302S has some interesting twists and turns. So let’s start at the beginning, when Rich first ordered the 2012 BOSS 302S.
“I was at PRI last December when they announced the BOSS 302S Mustang would be the benchmark for the World Challenge GTS Championship,” says Rich. “In fact, I was standing right next to Mark Wilson (of Ford Racing) and I ordered it right there. He told me later that he got four text messages during the announcement, but I was still first. So I knew right from the beginning that I would be getting the first BOSS 302S.”
Rich, who desribes himself as a “hobby/professional racer,” took delivery of the BOSS 302S and started competing in the World Challenge GTS class. It wasn’t his first Ford race car though.”I bought a FR500S, which was my first Ford, and I was so impressed with that experience that I knew I had to have the BOSS.”
So how does it drive? “It’s an absolute beast,” says Rich. “I mean race cars are meant to be beaten on, but the BOSS just does it so well and consistently every week – it’s truly a remarkable race car.” It did not take long for Rich to form a bond with this car, which he affectionately refers to as “Boss One.” The weekend of the crash was a double header, and Rich had come in 4th place during the first race. Had he not been involved in the accident, Rich says he would have finished “on the podium” for that race.
Speaking of the race, Jalopnik, who first ran the story of the accident, initially blamed the wreck on Rich. Video later emerged showing what really happened; Rich was coming into turn two at Mid-Ohio when another racer put his two tires into the dirt behind him. “I was hit from behind going 80 mph and he just spun me right into the wall,” says Rich. “I didn’t even have a chance to get off of the gas pedal. The only thing I had time to think was “Holy shit, this is going to hurt.”
Luckily, there was no major damage to Rich. “The safety features in that car are amazing, and I just walked away from it.” The damage to Rich’s Mustang, however, was “pretty extensive.” But he knew that he would be rebuilding the car, no question about it. “I wanted to get it back on the track for the next race, but there just wasn’t enough time.” That’s because rather than taking parts from the crashed “Boss One” and putting it on a new body, Rehagen Racing set out to correctly repair “Boss One.” That meant replacing the frame rails, radiator, hood, fenders, left quarter panel, and just about everything in between. Rehagen racing even went ahead and replaced the engine, putting the old engine to the side as a backup.
Ford Racing also stepped into give Rich and Rehagen Racing a hand. “After the race I went over to my car and got out my phone,” says Rich. “There was already a text message from Mark Wilson saying that whatever I needed, they would get for me. They were literally pulling parts off of the shelf for other cars to help me and Rehagan Racing rebuild this car to finish off the season. I knew this was a special car as soon as I ordered it. And I knew without hesitation we would be saving this chassis after the crash. It was the right thing to do, though I still haven’t gotten the bill yet though,” Rich laughs.
While Rehagen Racing was able to get the BOSS back together in good time, the crash ultimately led to Rich being unable to finish two consecutive races, putting him out of championship contention. However, Rich and “Boss One” came back to Mid-Ohio earlier this month for the American Iron NASA Championship race, where Rich took third place, proving that Boss One is back in top-notch racing condition.
Still, for a guy whose first-of-its-kind was nearly wrecked beyond repair, Rich was surprisingly upbeat about the whole affair…at least after he had some time to cool down. The experience has given him a whole new respect for Ford vehicles too. “I was a Chevy guy for a while, but the way Ford stands by their vehicles is really above and beyond to me,” says Rich. “I’m now thinking about going and buying a street BOSS because the race car is just that good.”
Any final words on the whole experience? “If you ever have a chance to get behind the wheel of a BOSS 302 Mustang, do it,” says Rich. Sound advice if you ask us.