15
Sep
Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

During the first round of Pro Stock eliminations at the opening race of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship, driver V. Gaines would experience something he’s never felt before. His first time upside down in a race car.  Continue on to see step by step one of the wildest rides you can take in a Pro Stocker.

In the interest of fair reporting, all weekend there was talk about track problems in the second half of the zMax Dragway quarter mile. While the high downforce nitro cars put on an impressive show in the first round of eliminations the same would not be said about Pro Stock. In the first three pair of cars down the track only Jason Line was able to make a full pass. Everyone else was on the edge of losing control.

In the fourth pair of Pro Stock, Allen Johnson would take on V. Gaines. A few hundred feet off the line and Allen Johnsons car was heading left before making a hard right turn and nearly crashing…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Johnson would wisely get off the throttle as V. Gaines raced down track, on his way to an easy victory….

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Or so we thought. As he got to around the 1000ft mark the rear end of his car would get lose…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

The car would make a hard move to the right….

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

With his car way out of the groove, the traction he once had was gone…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Gaines was no longer heading to the right but now his back end would begin to come around…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

A Pro Stock car has very little downforce so being this sideways at speed only has one result…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Now completely sideways the air pressure blows out the drivers side window as the car begins to roll over…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

The first roll seemed to happen in slow motion as I looked through the viewfinder of my Canon 1Dx…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Gaines would literally fly across the finish line to pick up a round win the hard way…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Trackside safety crew helplessly look on as Gaines beautiful Dodge Dart was milliseconds away from getting demolished…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

For a split second I thought Gaines might get lucky and simply slide on his roof to a nice easy stop…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

That was until the car dug in and began to barrel roll…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

As his car would make contact with the left lane wall it would rip the front end bodywork of his Kendall Dodge…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Note that V. hit the wall right where the metal door is. Thankfully it held together.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Hitting the wall would send the car flying through the air to complete his first roll…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Before coming down on its side…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Which would begin a frightening series of flips…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

With him now in the shutdown area I don’t know why his parachutes didn’t auto deploy…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Parts and pieces would begin flying off the car as the G forces of the rolls took over…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Note the gashes in the pavement from the car landing on the track surface…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Now his car comes around to complete his second roll…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

The next photo is by far the scariest shot in the sequence. Note his arm exposed out of the roll cage as the car continues to flip…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Gaines Dodge would pirouette on its nose as it continued flying through the shutdown area…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Thats now the completion of his third flip…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

And finally his fourth flip…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Despite the four rolls the car still had enough speed to fly through the air above the track for my next few images…

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Before eventually disappearing from my view behind the NHRA Mobile Vision TV.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 1000iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Manual

Thanks to the strict safety rules and well built race car, V. Gaines would emerge unhurt and within minutes had his trademark cigar in his mouth! Here is the ESPN video of the accident.

After the accident the racing surface was deemed unsafe to race and NHRA made the decision to cancel the remainder of the event and finish it next weekend in Dallas.

Hopefully NHRA will be able to figure out what happened with the window net that allowed his arm to come out of the car. Hopefully a rule change in the category happens before someone else isn’t as lucky!


 
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