14
Feb
Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, ManualNHRA funny car driver Tony Pedregon blows the body off his car after an explosion during qualifying for the Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Pedregon was unhurt in the incident.

During the second round of qualifying for the NHRA season opening Winternationals, two time funny car champion Tony Pedregon would be in the worst seat in the house as he suffered a massive engine explosion. Continue on to see the full sequence.

After spending the day shooting on the starting line yesterday I decided it was time for mt first day of top end shooting for the 2013 NHRA season.

In the second pair of funny cars I would be in the perfect spot to shoot an incredible 300mph explosion.

Two time NHRA funny car champion Tony Pedregon would be lined up alongside Todd Lesenko.

Just based off of Lesenkos track record last year of three body blowing explosions (Explosion One  ,  Explosion Two  ,  Explosion Three) in the last seven races my camera would be aimed at him.

Right at the green, Lesenko would get way sideways as he smoked the tires. He would wisely get off the throttle.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, ManualNHRA funny car driver Tony Pedregon blows the body off his car after an explosion during qualifying for the Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Pedregon was unhurt in the incident.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

In the right lane, Tony Pedregon would race down track.

Nearing halftrack, his unhappy engine started spitting out ragged flames from the headers. This is almost always a sign of bad things to come.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, ManualNHRA funny car driver Tony Pedregon blows the body off his car after an explosion during qualifying for the Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Pedregon was unhurt in the incident.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

As soon as I saw the odd flame pattern from his headers I held down the button on the 12 frame per second Canon 1Dx I was shooting with.

It didn’t take more than about two shots before the engine let go in a massive fireball…

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, ManualNHRA funny car driver Tony Pedregon blows the body off his car after an explosion during qualifying for the Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Pedregon was unhurt in the incident.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

The force of the explosion would bow the body of Pedregons Toyota Camry body. Thats all that was needed for the 300mph air to get beneath the body…

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, ManualNHRA funny car driver Tony Pedregon blows the body off his car after an explosion during qualifying for the Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Pedregon was unhurt in the incident.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

And quickly lift the 50 thousand dollar carbon fiber body off the chassis.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, ManualNHRA funny car driver Tony Pedregon blows the body off his car after an explosion during qualifying for the Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Pedregon was unhurt in the incident.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

At this point the body is nearly 90 degrees coming off the car. Note the heat waves surrounding the body of the car as it takes off…

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, ManualNHRA funny car driver Tony Pedregon blows the body off his car after an explosion during qualifying for the Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Pedregon was unhurt in the incident.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, ManualNHRA funny car driver Tony Pedregon blows the body off his car after an explosion during qualifying for the Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Pedregon was unhurt in the incident.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

The body coming off the car automatically pulls the parachutes out. Sounds like some technical parachute ejection system but actually all that it is is the parachutes are mounted to the body. When the body flies off the parachutes, which are connected to the chassis, are simply pulled out and opened by the air.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, ManualNHRA funny car driver Tony Pedregon blows the body off his car after an explosion during qualifying for the Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Pedregon was unhurt in the incident.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

I tried to quickly find the body flying through the air to get a cool photo but I failed and didn’t find it quick enough so back to the car I would aim.

Pedregon would get the car way sideways during his efforts to bring the car to a stop.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, ManualNHRA funny car driver Tony Pedregon blows the body off his car after an explosion during qualifying for the Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Pedregon was unhurt in the incident.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

I’m sure oil all over his visor and tires didn’t help his cause.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, ManualNHRA funny car driver Tony Pedregon blows the body off his car after an explosion during qualifying for the Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Pedregon was unhurt in the incident.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Tony would bring the car to a safe stop and climb from the remains of his car uninjured.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, ManualNHRA funny car driver Tony Pedregon blows the body off his car after an explosion during qualifying for the Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Pedregon was unhurt in the incident.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Tony has a backup body so he will undoubtedly be back out there tomorrow.

Hopefully with better results!


 
Posted in 10 Spot, California, Crash, Drag Racing, NHRA, Racing, Sports   3 Comments

3 Responses to “10 Spot / NHRA driver Tony Pedregon does best Russian Meteor Impression”

  1. Jim says:

    Big fan of yours. Surprised to see that you are shooting Canon. I’m a Canon shooter. Always thought you shot Nikon. What prompted you to change?

  2. Hey Mark, Great work! I have been following your work for a few years now! Are you still working for ESPN still or are you with USA Today? Good Luck Sun.

  3. Don Willett says:

    Ever since the Pedregons left the Force Camp “Like Thieves in the Night”, I lost all respect for them.

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