NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster driver Mark Taliaferro was involved in one of the most frightening crashes in recent memory on Sunday at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals at the Pacific Raceways near Seattle when his dragster careened out of control during the second round of eliminations, leaving everyone in attendance holding their breathe.
Taliaferro (pronounced ‘Tolliver’) was racing alongside Garrett Bateman in the second round on Sunday morning, having defeated Greg Sereda in the opening round on Saturday. In the ill-fated matchup, Bateman left too quick and lit the red bulb, which turned into as a blessing in disguise, as he lifted and became a spectator to what was about to occur just in front of him.
Taliaferro, in his Norm Grimes-tuned dragster, struck the tires early in the run and never recovered, continuing to boil the hides with the throttle perhaps stuck wide open, eventually sending the 260 MPH race car out of the hands of Taliaferro. From there, the car went across the centerline and rolled into its side, striking the wall nose first before snapping around with a heavy impact at the rear portion of the chassis. It then climbed up onto the top of the wall, where the engine itself caught the raised section of the guardrail, causing a huge fireball as loose fuel and oil ignited.
The car eventually came to rest inside the confines of the racing surface, where Taliaferro miraculously climbed from the destroyed dragster under his own power; unharmed in what was one hellacious crash.
Video Courtesy NHRA/ESPN