Soon after sailing to a ninth place finish in 2016 Coyote Stock points at the 18th Annual Nitto NMRA All Ford World Finals at Beech Bend Raceway in October, Walter Baranowski headed to the Track Toys Racing ABM Nationals at Cecil County in Maryland.
There, he had hoped to cap off a successful season that included personal bests of 10.32 in NMRA trim and 9.89 in outlaw trim, but instead, he got into trouble in the 1986 Mustang he has owned for 20-plus years when it made a move after a wheelstand.
“I hit second gear as soon as I went into the wheelstand hoping that it would help the car come down smoothly, but instead, it was out of shape and heading toward the center line,” said Baranowski. “I cut the wheel to the left to bring it back into the left lane, and unfortunately hit the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal. At that point, there was nothing I could do before I went nose-first into the wall and careened off of it.”
Fellow NMRA Coyote Stock driver Carlos Sobrino, who was pitted alongside Baranowski at the race, immediately went to him to check on him and offer help. Upon Baranowski’s request, he called his significant other, Heidi Scherzer, and best friend, crew chief and sponsor, Chris Lawrence of MPE Racing, to tell them he had wrecked but was not injured.
Relieved that his beloved car was rebuildable, Baranowski delivered it to 508 Customs and Collision near his Massachusetts home, where the frame was straightened, with help from Derek Hanoud, Steve LaPlante, Dan Marrotte and Stephen Ferreira. While it’s there, a replacement nose, fenders and hood will be installed, and the car will be repainted.
Baranowski’s sealed Coyote engine and G-Force G101A transmission were not compromised, and the driver who’s been in the competitive class for three years, hopes to have his car race-ready in time for the 23rd Annual NMRA Spring Break Shootout, March 2-5, 2017, at Bradenton Motorsports Park.