16
Sep

During the second round of eliminations in the NHRA O’Reilly Auto Parts Nationals at zMax Dragway, pro stock driver Shane Gray would ride out one of the wildest… and scary crashes I have seen. Continue on to see how he ended up in such an insane position.

While racing alongside living legend Warren Johnson, Gray would get loose in his 2012 Chevy Camaro.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 800iso, f5, 1/1250th, Manual

Unlike their nitro cousins, pro stock cars have very little downforce when racing down track. If you get a little sideways it doesn’t end well.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 800iso, f5, 1/1250th, Manual

Grays car would roll over as he headed towards the left side wall.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 800iso, f5, 1/1250th, Manual

He would make hard contact with the wall. Thankfully the roof didn’t make hard contact with the wall from the top. Those hits are usually the most dangerous types of hits you can take.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 800iso, f5, 1/1250th, Manual

In this shot you can see his car about a foot and a half off the ground as he slides along the wall.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 800iso, f5, 1/1250th, Manual

Whenever a pro stocker gets sideways it flips over almost everytime so I wasn’t surprised by what I was watching through the viewfinder.

This next part would surprise the hell out of me.

With the high speed he was still going, air would get beneath the back of his car and what was a car a second ago would quickly become an airplane.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 800iso, f5, 1/1250th, Manual

Grays car would do a headstand on the nose of his soon to be battered car.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 800iso, f5, 1/1250th, Manual

The below pic of the car flying through the air on fire is most likely a pro stock crash shot I will never top for the rest of my career.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 800iso, f5, 1/1250th, Manual

This shot would be my second favorite shot of the series as he prepares for what will be a turbulent landing.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 800iso, f5, 1/1250th, Manual

Fuel from the engine would allow the fire to get bigger. Check out all those heat waves!

Nikon D800, 600mm, 800iso, f5, 1/1250th, Manual

For a second it looked like Gray was going to land upside down.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 800iso, f5, 1/1250th, Manual

Nikon D800, 600mm, 800iso, f5, 1/1250th, Manual

Luckily for him the car would roll back over….

Nikon D800, 600mm, 800iso, f5, 1/1250th, Manual

And land on its wheels as fire raged from the top of the carburetor .

Nikon D800, 600mm, 800iso, f5, 1/1250th, Manual

Grays car would now be too close to me for my camera with the 600mm so I would do a quick camera change to the body with my 70-200mm on my shoulder.

With no steering Gray would pound the right side wall.

Nikon D800, 70-200mm, 640iso, f5, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

Note the passenger door on the right flying off.

Nikon D800, 70-200mm, 640iso, f5, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

Gray would be uninjured in the wild incident. You can’t deny that these cars are built pretty damn good for a driver to walk away after some 200mph acrobatics.

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Posted in Crash, Drag Racing, Racing, Sports   4 Comments

4 Responses to “NHRA driver Shane Gray takes off in wild crash”

  1. Richard O. Cundiff says:

    Mark,
    These are great shots. Congrats. Many will tell you that you were lucky. But my thought after several looks is the Seneca the Younger quote: “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity”. Just the same as the USA womens soccer shot. Great work, but work safe!

    ROC

  2. Awesome shots. Nice switch from the 600 to the 70-200!

  3. nigel says:

    awesome and thats why we love sports photography!
    who said the d800 cant do sports/action……!!

  4. This is my nephew Mark and I don’t think I have ever been more scared standing on the starting line watching this. These pictures are just unbelievable and I want to buy the whole sequence from you. Would you let me know what it will cost and I will see you and we can get it done. I met you recently at DSR tent by my brother’s car. I am sure you meet everyone but I am his sister Terry.

    Thank you

    Terry Chandler

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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!