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Auto racing is a dangerous sport, That’s part of the excitement, but that means some truly terrifying, even deadly, crashes. Here are some of the worst in NASCAR history.
During the 1987 Winston 500, Bobby Allison went over a wall at 200 mph, then landed only to be smacked around by a few of his fellow competitors. He got out of it without a scratch. Several spectators, however, were injured by flying debris.
Glenn ‘Fireball’ Roberts
At Charlotte Speedway’s 1964 World 600, Glenn ‘Fireball’ Roberts couldn’t avoid wreckage from the crash of Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett ahead. Roberts’ car slammed into a wall, rolled over and burst into flames. The popular driver fought through burns across eighty percent of his body, but succumbed to pneumonia.
Carl Edwards‘ car went completely airborne while blocking Brad Keselowski at the Talladega Superspeedway in 2009. It was a spectacular crash, but no one was hurt.
During the 1990 Atlanta Journal 500, Ricky Rudd completely lost control of his vehicle while near the pit, spinning into Bill Elliott’s car as it was being given a tire change. Sadly, Mike Rich, a member of Elliott’s crew, was pinned between the cars and killed.
At Darlington Raceway in 2001, Steve Park accidentally pulled the steering wheel off his vehicle and skidded left across the track, where he would eventually be struck by AJ Foyt’s car.
1960 Daytona Modified Sportsman Race
This was the crash that led NASCAR to understand that you can have too many cars on one track. 73 cars started, then almost immediately, 37 of them wrecked. No one died, probably because it happened so quickly, and the field was so congested, that no one could get up to speed. But 8 were hospitalized.
‘King Richard’ Petty’s worst crash took place at South Carolina’s Darlington Speedway. Petty hit a retaining wall and flipped several times. Things did NOT look good. But Petty recovered and dominated the sport throughout the ’70s and beyond.
Carlos Pardo’s 9th and final victory cost him his life. His car was hit from behind during the NASCAR Corona Series in 2009, causing him to spin out and slam into a wall at 120 mph.
Bristol, 1990. At the 1990 Budweiser 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race, Michael Waltrip nearly ripped his car in half in a spectacular, horrifying accident – then walked away from it almost completely unscathed.
Bristol, 2002. Mike Harmon’s car wasn’t just torn apart, it virtually disintegrated. But, like Waltrip, he walked away from the crash as though nothing had happened at all.
Daytona 500, February 18, 2001. Dale Earnhardt, long the biggest star in the NASCAR firmament, died after being struck by two cars then crashing into a wall. during the final lap of the 2001 race.