No such episode exists, as far as I can recall. There were several episodes involving cars and crashes: "Lovely But Lethal" - Vivica drugs Shirley Blaine and she crashes her car; "Greenhouse Jungle" - Jarvis Goodwin and Tony drive the car over the cliff, but no-one is in it; "Uneasy Lies the Crown" - Wesley and David drive Adam Evans car over the cliff (with Adam in it), but he was already dead; "How to Dial A Murder" - Columbo mentions that Dr. Mason's wife died in a "mysterious" crash; "A Bird in the Hand" - Harold McCain tries to blow up Big Fred, but instead, Fernando the gardener starts up the car and explodes.
Also, "Any Old Port in a Storm" - Adrian Carsini drives his brother's sports car to the scuba diving site, but Ric was already dead before he dropped him in the ocean. Later, Carsini refers to his brother's "auto racing, skydiving...". No race car crashes, however.
Dear J & J,
thank you very much for your detailed explanations with all Columbo episodes involving car crashes. Some people obviously talk through their hats, or at least confuse series and scenario.
For your information, Jean Graton has his racing driver hero Michel Vaillant solve precisely such a sabotage in "The Half-inch Spanner" (not translated), a comic short story first published in Tintin (F) = Kuifje (NL) magazine in Belgium on Nov. 19th, 1958 -a month before I was born. The criminal was so stupid as to forget "La clé de 12"[mm] on the garage floor.
The story may well have inspired a film director later -or could it be reverse?-, but obviously not with Columbo.
English teacher at Université de Lille and
former Group 2 rally team local manager RAC rally 1980-82
PS: contacts and enquiries welcome.
You are quite welcome. I think a Columbo episode featuring a race car driver would have been enormous fun. Columbo puttering about in the pits, interrupting the mechanics and drivers while sniffing about for clues. Driving his Peugot onto a race track to see the suspect/murderer and getting in the way of the race cars. Some delicious possibilities. He would probably show up to arrest the driver while he was on the starting line of the next race! Alas, this episode was never made.
I'm guessing your experience in auto racing would peak your interest in such an episode.