Update: Chevrolet's director of communications, Michael Albano, has responded with the following:
"It is unusual to have this occur. However, it is possible for a driver to create conditions where the air bag sensors believe a rollover is imminent. This can lead to an unwanted air bag deployment. On rollover side curtain bags, the vehicle's rollover sensing system is looking for a certain set of factors that "predict" a vehicle is going to roll over. The airbag system cannot wait until it is too late to deploy the airbags. Drifting or creating a situation that has a certain combination of speed and vehicle angle can lead to an unwanted air bag deployment."
Yep, that's about what we figured. The computer decided it was better safe that sorry--and given the skills exhibited in the video, we tend to agree.
We refuse to call mostly understeering around in a circle "drifting," but that doesn't lessen the comedic value of this driver's ham-fisted attempt: midway through his run, the side airbags deploy.
No, he didn't slam into the barriers, or strike anything else that would have set off the airbags. The only thing we can see that might have done it is the semi-tank-slapper that immediately preceded the pop, which could have activated the airbags based on accelerometer readings.
We're reaching out the Chevy to see what might have caused this result, and we'll let you know when we hear back.