Driving experience can take you a long way, but sometimes a little luck is required for things to go your way. Robin Roberts has been racing big horsepower, small-tire cars for the better part of 20 years without a single incident, but all of that experience didn’t help him when his luck ran out at Bounty Hunters IV. Roberts had a minor brush with the wall behind the wheel of his boosted 1968 Firebird and he plans on making a big comeback when repairs are complete.
The immaculate Pro Line-powered Firebird that Roberts pilots made its no-prep racing debut late in 2018 at Outlaw Armageddon 3 where it performed well. Roberts built the car specifically to go no-prep racing since it matched his street racing background and the Firebird was exactly what he wanted. The singular goal for this build is to dominate no-prep racing and Bounty Hunters was supposed to be the first big test for the car this year.
Roberts attributes the crash to a lot of different factors all coming together at one time. The memory of everything that happened is etched into his mind and he’s had time to reflect since the crash to understand what occurred.
“We decided to go to this race at the last second and rushed to get a few things done, I also had just one other person with me at the event. Getting the car ready happened fairly quickly after we arrived and then I drew DeWayne Mills’ car first round, so I felt some extra pressure there to do well against him. I think all of that led to us missing some stuff getting the car prepared for round one,” Roberts says.
The most critical thing was the tune-up — an aggressive boost curve on a good track is a ticket to a fast run, on a marginal track, it leads to tire spin, but on a no-prep racing surface it’s a recipe for disaster.
“Somewhere along the way, I loaded the wrong boost profile into the car. It came out too soft so the tire was never set right. When the boost came in full force later the car was already loose and when it clicked high gear things got ugly. From that point on I was thinking to keep it off the wall and pointed down the track. I realized that I wasn’t going to save the car, so I slammed on the brakes to try and minimize the damage,” Roberts says.
Roberts ended up catching a lucky break in how the car made contact with the wall because the damage was not as bad as it could have been. The glancing blow saved the chassis from incurring any serious structural damage and allowed for repairs to begin as soon as the car was unloaded.
“Where it hit on the right rear it just damaged the corner of the body. The tubs are fine, the frame is fine and the floors aren’t tweaked at all. We’ve already got a new quarter panel on the car, a taillight panel was installed, a new nose is on the way, and the fuel tank is being replaced, as well. Since we converted the car from nitrous to a twin-turbo originally there were some things we wanted to do different and didn’t have time. With the car being apart right now we’re going to address those items,” Roberts says.
As soon as Blake Housley is done working his magic on the Firebird, Roberts is jumping right back in the saddle. In April he plans on testing the car to make sure everything is right and prepare it for the 2019 season. Roberts’s overall goal is to be a part of the third season of No Prep Kings and make a big splash on the show … in a positive way, of course.