02
May
Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen explodes an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual
In the first pair of cars down the track on the final day of the NHRA Spring Nationals, top fuel dragster driver Terry McMillen experienced one of the biggest explosions in the last couple decades in his Amalie Motor Oil sponsored dragster. Continue on to see the entire sequence frame by frame…

Here we go!

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen moments before exploding an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual
In this first shot nanoseconds before the explosion, you can see raw fuel coming from the left side of the engine which is indicative of problems.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen explodes an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual
Here is the moment the engine lets go with sparks shooting from the soon to be parted out engine.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen explodes an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual
You can see the top half of the engine now sitting vertical as it is lifted from the engine by the force of the explosion.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen explodes an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual
All the supercharged cars in the professional series of the NHRA are required to run multiple restraint straps to keep the supercharger from flying off.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen explodes an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual
The fireball continues to grow. It honestly reminded me of those videos when a fertilizer plant blows up and just when you think the explosion has peaked.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen explodes an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual
It continues to get bigger and bigger.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen explodes an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual
The fireball starts to die down as the supercharger bounces alongside the car.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen explodes an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen explodes an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual
By this point the parachutes are usually out but the fire and shrapnel damaged the parachutes to the point of ineffectiveness.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen explodes an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual
Even without the parachutes, Terry is already on the brakes to slow down which allows the bouncing supercharger to catch back up to the car.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen explodes an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual
And in something that has gotta be next to impossible, and really bad luck, the supercharger would come down….

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen blows a tire after exploding an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual
And hit the rear slick taking out the tire.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen blows a tire after exploding an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual
The flying tire debris quickly took out half of the cars rear wing.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen blows a tire after exploding an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen blows a tire after exploding an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual
Whats left of the Goodyear tire flies alongside the car. On the right side you can see the side plate of the cars rear wing flying.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen blows a tire after exploding an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen blows a tire after exploding an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen blows a tire after exploding an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual
Without a left side tire and half his rear wing gone, Terry begins to lose control of the dragster.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen blows a tire after exploding an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual NHRA top fuel driver Terry McMillen blows a tire after exploding an engine on fire during the Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Manual
At this point I am not liking the direction Terry is heading so I bailed beneath the wall for safety.

As the great Kenny Rogers once said, “You’ve got to know when hold them, know when to fold them.”

Terry was uninjured in the explosion and subsequent crash into the wall. The team vows to be back with a new car in two weeks at NHRA Atlanta!


 
Posted in Crash, Drag Racing, NHRA, Racing, Sports, Texas, USA Today   1 Comment

One response to “Terry McMillen suffers biggest explosion in a decade at NHRA Houston”

  1. […] Photographer Mark J Rebilas got some amazing still images of the destruction as well. […]

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