MEDIA BLASTING AFTER FIRE

The blasted bare body and chassis were a sad but welcomed sight in the shop. This was definitely a horrible déjà vu moment when the crew realized that Big Red’s blasted shell was in this same condition only five months prior. In those months, Big Red was completely painted and built from the ground up. Now it was back to this…and this time, almost every part that wasn’t steel needed to be replaced. Last time, quite a few of the old parts were able to be freshened and put back into service. The crew wished they could wake up from this nightmare, but it’s reality, and if anyone could rebuild Big Red again,
there was no better team to do it. A horrific sight; it was painful to look at Big Red. Later, Dave Ward said, “We were all devastated and feeling really low.”
The smell is awful. The odor is what you might imagine fire and brimstone smells like in Hell. The hope is that the media-blasting process will remove that smell for good.

The only positive part about the first photo is that the rebuild process had started. The crew has no idea what the prognosis of Big Red’s true condition was at that point. They didn’t know how much of the body could be salvaged. The blistered and scorched surface made it tough to survey the damage. The saving grace is that the aluminum tabs that retained the windshield trim were not melted. This, and some other signs, gave hope that the temperature of the fire didn’t pass the critical limit.

Early on in the blasting process, the metal was looking promising. When all the body surfaces were back to bare metal, the damage was worse in some spots than others. But the verdict was still out on the damage until a true metal worker

could perform a full inspection. Back at the shop, the smell wasn’t going away until all the burned parts were completely blasted clean or removed from the building. Surprisingly, many of the scorched metal parts were salvageable in the long run. Luckily, the quick response of the safety crew at Buttonwillow Raceway and of the Big Red team was enough to keep the fire from being worse than it was.

The blasted bare body and chassis were a sad but welcomed sight in the shop. This was definitely a horrible déjà vu moment when the crew realized that Big Red’s blasted shell was in this same condition only five months prior. In those months, Big Red was completely painted and built from the ground up. Now it was back to this…and this time, almost every part that wasn’t steel needed to be replaced. Last time, quite a few of the old parts were able to be freshened and put back into service. The crew wished they could wake up from this nightmare, but it’s reality, and if anyone could rebuild Big Red again, there was no better team to do it.