In the hierarchy of wheels-up drag racing exploits, there are wheelstands, there are holy **** wheelstands, and then there are pure acts of higher powers and forces beyond our understanding taking complete control of a race car. Radial tire racer Jere Etheridge’s absolutely surreal ride easily falls into the latter category, as neither he nor anyone else that witnessed his Mustang take flight on Sunday in Georgia could ever explain how it didn’t find its roof.
Competing alongside Frank Soldridge in the opening round of PTC Radial vs. The World at Lights Out 4 at the South Georgia Motorsports Park, Etheridge, a native of Corinth, Miss., found himself with a view of nothing but sky as his mount climbed into a monstrous wheelstand and appeared to be headed toward a complete blowover. Amazingly, the car stayed shiny-side-up (despite having all four wheels off the ground) and dragged the parachute packs down the pavement for several hundred feet as viewers live and on the internet gasped in sheer disbelief of what they were seeing.
Etheridge crossed the finish line in 4.89 seconds at 118 mph and change. Soldridge streaked to victory with a 4.39, but all eyes were on Etheridge in the opposing lane.
Etheridges’ ride on Sunday was very reminiscent of Dennis Bailey’s horrific crash at SGMP back in the fall of 2010, when his Mustang when into a wheelstand at the finish line and couldn’t fight back the forces of the wind under the car, going up and partially over before crashing down on its side and flipping over the guardrail. Like Bailey, Etheridge’s car went into a wheelstand early in the run, forcing him to lift to bring the nose back down, before quickly climbing skyward again near the finish stripe. Fortunately, thanks to the aforementioned higher powers and forces, Etheridge was able to bring the car back down on all fours, although the suspension, the headers, and the oil pan might need a little work before another trip to the track.