On Saturday, three-time NHRA champion Larry Dixon was involved in one of the most horrific accidents that you’ll ever see during a qualifying run at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Auto Plus Raceway.
The one-car accident happened about three-quarters of the way through Dixon’s run when his car bowed and literally split in half while travelling a mind-melting 280 miles per hour. After splitting, the back side of the vehicle that holds the cockpit and engine then flew an estimated 20 feet in the air before landing upright back on the track. The nose on the car also flew 30 feet (!!!) and landed behind the cockpit when returning back to the track.
It’s not quite sure what caused the accident, but a rattled Dixon wasn’t dissecting it too much. He was just happy to be alive.
Post-race Dixon said, “It [was] like a roller-coaster ride that flies off the track. Now what are you going to do? You just have to wait to land and hope everything does its job for you.”
“I was just wanting it to land on the track and not in the dirt. That’s the biggest deal. Going that fast, you can tumble. That isn’t good for your insides. Everything did its job. My car’s a mess, but I’m still here.”
This, of course, isn’t the first time that Dixon has been involved in a deadly wreck. Way back in 2000, the front side of Dixon’s ride shot straight up into the air during a race at the Memphis International Raceway, leaving the world-champion racer in serious condition.
“The last time I went through one of those, my eye literally popped out of its socket,” said Dixon in an interview with USA Today. “I had a broken leg and a helicopter ride and all of that. The fact that I’m here and talking to you and have no broken bones and I still have both eyes — all the improvements in the car in the 15 years since I last did this have made a difference.”