Las Vegas II: David Baca final summmary

Baca has a highlight reel finish to Vegas race LAS VEGAS (Oct. 29) -- If you can't win the race, be spectacular. Those words summed up the sixth annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals for Mach 1 Air Services Top Fuel driver David Baca. The ...

Baca has a highlight reel finish to Vegas race

LAS VEGAS (Oct. 29) -- If you can't win the race, be spectacular. Those words summed up the sixth annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals for Mach 1 Air Services Top Fuel driver David Baca.

The likable shoe from San Francisco's bay area completed his weekend in Sin City with a close 4.585-second loss to star racer Brandon Bernstein only to find out his 320.66 mph quarter-mile pass would not be slowed by the aid of his twin parachutes, which failed to deploy after the finish line.

Baca did his best to scrub off speed as his land rocket approached the top-end sand pit but was still estimated to be traveling in excess of 100 mph when he decided to slid his 300-inch wheelbase rail sideways to avoid damaging it in the trap. The spectacular and successful maneuver drew a standing ovation from his peers as well as the ESPN2 camera crew, who covered the near-catastrophic stop from several angles.

"I think that one might be on the highlight reels for years to come," Baca said. "I'm not sure what happened with the chutes but all I know is that sand trap was coming up fast. They always say to brace yourself and try your best to keep your car straight going into the sand but at the last split second I decided to slid her in there and it worked. I figured if John Force can do it, so can I."

The difference is that John Force, the sport's most prolific racer with 13 titles and 121 wins, drives a Funny Car, which has a much wider stance. No one at the track could remember a Top Fuel racer trying the sliding stop before without tipping over.

"You drive by instinct and the feel in your butt," Baca said. "My butt told me I could do it and the tires didn't hop so it stayed right side up. I know I saved the guys a lot of extra work had I gone into the sand.

"In the end we didn't get the round win so that's a bummer but we did go out in style."

Baca and crew will now turn their attention to the season-ending 42nd annual Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals in two weeks in Pomona, Calif. Baca was runner-up at the tour's last stop in Southern California. He'd love to win one more round this time through.

-credit: dbr

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , David Baca , Brandon Bernstein