Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Vanishing Point Challenger Crashes at Road America

ELKHART LAKE, Wisc. — The world's fastest permanent road course, Road America here, proved difficult for Erich Heuschele when the prototype SRT8 Challenger he was driving met the tire wall after coming into Turn One a little too fast early last Saturday. But Heuschele is no hard-bitten racer, just a movie fan who found out the hard way that it all looks much easier on the big screen than it really is in life.

It all started when Heuschele and Ralph Gilles entered a Dodge SRT8 Challenger, done up to resemble the car in the 1971 road movie Vanishing Point, in the famous One Lap of America event. The men even borrowed the monikers used by the movie's characters, Kowalski and Super Soul.

Sadly, the crash that ended their dream came far, far ahead of the planned final scene.

The white beauty first got loose around the turn, then went into the infield grass and continued to smash into the tire pile on the outside wall hard enough to come to a standstill atop the wall.

Heuschele walked away from the incident, but the white Challenger was put out for the remainder of the race. Kowalski and Super Soul — if they are still brave enough to call themselves by those names — plan to return for the next event in a new Challenger. This one will be a defiant but non-movie-specific bright orange. However, since it's a replacement car, they will not be permitted to receive points in any of the upcoming events.

Tomorrow, One Lap events take place at No Problem Raceway in Los Angeles.

Chrysler's Eric Heuschele (vehicle dynamics supervisor) and Ralph Gilles (vice president of design), both hard-bitten fans of the movie Vanishing Point, loved but lost this Dodge Challenger in One Lap of America last weekend. (Photo courtesy of CarDomain Blog)
Luckily, driver Heuschele walked away from the crash. (Photo courtesy of CarDomain Blog)

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