09
Sep

Following his spectacular fiery explosion yesterday in qualifying, Todd Lesenko and crew would have to work late into the night to get their car repaired for the first round of eliminations. Unfortunately for Lesenko he would find out lightning can strike the same place twice. That spot would be the left lane of Lucas Oil Raceway.

Below, just off the starting line you can see bright visible flames coming from the exhaust of Lesenkos car on the right, alongside Jack Beckman. Anytime you can see bright flames from a car in the day you can be sure there is a very unhappy engine contemplating suicide.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 400iso, f8, 1/2000th, Manual

With a bright flash from the monster fireball, you can see the carbon fiber body exploding into pieces flying in all directions.

Note the nose of the car in the next few photos.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 400iso, f8, 1/2000th, Manual

In the above photo the nose of the car is pointed downward.

Now with the 200 + mph wind hitting the perpendicular funny car body it would push it back down on the car.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 400iso, f8, 1/2000th, Manual

Now a bit of air would get beneath the front of the body causing some insane altitude in less than a quarter of a second between photos. I gotta guess thats about 50 feet in the air.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 400iso, f8, 1/2000th, Manual

The front end of the car is way gone from my frame now but don’t worry, it’ll be back in a couple shots.

The back section of the cars body would do some incredible aerobatics that the USA womens gymnastics team would be jealous of.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 400iso, f8, 1/2000th, Manual

As with his explosion yesterday, the engine would stay on fire for a few seconds after the initial explosion feeding a fireball into the face of Lesenko.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 400iso, f8, 1/2000th, Manual

Oh yea, I almost forgot about the nose of his car. It would finally re-enter the atmosphere and land into a smoldering pile of trash on the track.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 400iso, f8, 1/2000th, Manual

The fire would go out just before he would get the naked funny car stopped.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 400iso, f8, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

As usual the NHRA safety safari would be quickly on the scene to tend to Lesenko.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 400iso, f8, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority

Other than a sore body, he would emerge from the car uninjured. The safety of these cars is impressive.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 400iso, f8, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

Right after the incident NHRA announcer Alan Reinhardt would head by on his golf cart and he stopped upon seeing me to jokingly tell me that from now on that race team probably wont race anymore if they see me at the top end shooting photos. Apparently I must be worse for your luck than walking under a ladder or crossing a black cats path. Sorry!

I have been around drag racing my entire life and am a pretty good historian of the sport but I cannot think of any funny car driver in my life who has blown off two bodies in a weekend. (let alone back to back runs!)

Getting photos of an explosion like todays or yesterdays is a once in 5 year type photo. These guys dont blow cars up these days like they used to. To get two in less than 24 hours boggles my mind.

Todd Lesenko actually won the race and moved on to the second round but the two incidents depleted their parts inventory that there was no way to repair the car in time.

Tough break but I would almost be willing to bet that all the TV coverage these incidents got them this weekend gave them and their sponsors more TV attention than they have got all the previous races of the season combined.

I have a Facebook page devoted my photography where I routinely share my favorite photos from each shoot as well as favorite photos from the past. Click the below banner to check it out. Be sure to “like” the page so you can be kept up to date on all the events I am doing!


 
Posted in 10 Spot, Crash, Drag Racing, NHRA, Racing, Sports   2 Comments

2 Responses to “10 Spot / NHRA driver Todd Lesenko Explosion Part Deux”

  1. Leftylen says:

    Mark, terrific work as usual. Would love to see a side by side of the two “blow-up” rounds. Glad Todd survived both days. I knew there was no way Big Jim would have enough parts to get back. Tough break, but like you said his sponsors got some great air time (pun intended). ;)

    Thanks from a fan.

    Leonard

  2. Gary Swinton says:

    I’m jealous of your skill, but not your camera.

    I’ve had my D800 since April and I love it!!!

    I’ve just started my website and it awful.

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Check out my Facebook page devoted my photography where I routinely share my favorite photos from each shoot as well as favorite photos from the past. Click the below banner to check it out. Be sure to "like" the page so you can be kept up to date on all the events I am doing!