Best of 2008-Best Crash Photos

In the many motorsport events I cover every year I typically witness several crashes. While most are simple spins into the wall, sometime it is hard impacts and explosions and sometimes even flips. Continue on to see some of the dramatic moments I witnessed in 2008.

The year got off to a bang during the ARCA race in Daytona when a multiple car accident was set off when Kyle Krisiloff lost control of his car and set off “the big one” at the exit of turn four. 

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 1250iso, f5.6, 1/1600th

During the Nationwide Series race in Las Vegas, David Reutimann and Tony Stewart were battling for the lead when they made contact and both spun in unison and slammed into the outside wall before sliding back down the track.

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 640iso, f5.6, 1/4000th

At a nostalgia drag race in Bakersfield, CA I was positioned over the track in crane and shot top fuel dragster driver Mike McLennan suffering a massive engine explosion with huge fireball. It was without a doubt one of my most intense photos of the year.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 400iso, f8, 1/1600th 

During the Nationwide Series race in Talladega I witnessed perhaps the biggest driving mistake I have seen in my life as Kevin Lepage was heading off pit road about 100mph slower than the pack of 40 drivers at 200mph when he pulled right in front of the field setting off a wild pileup that saw Carl Edwards get airborne and almost flip over backwards!

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 640iso, f7.1, 1/2500th

The crash seemed to last a long time as cars bounced off each other and the wall and slid down the giant banking before coming to a stop where every driver safely walked away.

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 1250iso, f5.6, 1/1600th

At the Indianapolis 500 I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time when race leader Tony Kanaan lost control and was t-boned by Sarah Fisher right in front of me.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 400iso, f8, 1/1600th

At the NASCAR race in Dover, Elliott Sadler spun out early in the race and ignited a 12 car pileup on the backstretch. While I was elevated it still wasn’t high enough to have a clean view of the accident.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 400iso, f7.1, 1/1250th

A few weeks later at the Indy car race in Iowa it was once again Tony Kanaan crashing into the wall while running up front. The small fireball was a nice plus.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/3200th

In the closing laps of the July Daytona race there was a multi-car crash in turn one that made for some nice shots.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 5000iso, f4, 1/640th

At my second trip of the year to Dover I shot a pretty hard crash during the East Series race. It was totally backlit but still made for some decent shots.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 640iso, f4.5, 1/4000th

The next day during the Nationwide Series race Landon Cassill and Steve Wallace got together coming off of turn four and slid down to the inside wall for a hard hit. 

Nikon D3, 600mm, 640iso, f4, 1/1600th

The next weekend in Kansas City a few cars got together coming off turn four and spun. While shooting the incident I totally expected it to turn into a multiple car crash but somehow everyone made it through safely.

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 500iso, f5.6, 1/3200th

The next week in Talladega I got a few big crashes. First on tap was the ARCA race which always proves to be full of action. 

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 500iso, f5.6, 1/2000th

A few cars also caught fire after hitting the walls during the race.

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 500iso, f5.6, 1/2000th

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 500iso, f5.6, 1/2000th

During the Sprint Cup Series race perhaps the biggest crash of the season occured when Carl Edwards bumped teammate Greg Biffle heading into turn three and set off a multi-car pile up. Looking back on the season shows that this crash most likely cost Edwards the 2008 championship.

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 800iso, f5.6, 1/8000th

Fellow championship contender Greg Biffle had his car completely destroyed in the accident.

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 800iso, f5.6, 1/8000th

In Las Vegas for NHRA drag racing top fuel dragster driver Tony Schumacher blew his engine and with oil flying out of the engine it was only a matter of time before it ignited on the hot headers producing a fireball. Not a big fire by any means but certainly better than nothing.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 400iso, f5.6, 1/2500th

I closed out my year of motorsports shooting covering a drag boat race about 10 minutes from my house in Chandler, AZ. Drag boats are the fastest propeller driven boats in the world, capable of speeds over 260mph. At those speeds when things go wrong, they go wrong big time. Just ask top fuel hydro driver James Ray who lost control at over 200mph and crashed HARD. While he broke several bones he is expected to fully recover.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 320iso, f7.1, 1/2000th

That wraps up my best of galleries for 2008. Hopefully I have as good of a year in 2009!

My site was nominated for Best Photography Blog!

8 Responses to “Best of 2008-Best Crash Photos”

  1. Patrick says:

    I’m pretty stoked I checked your blog today. Great seeing all these photos in a few posts. The dragboat crash inmotion is pretty amazing…

  2. Jeremy says:

    I still can’t believe you got that speed boat crash… that capture is amazing!

    Good Stuff!

  3. Don J says:

    Ahhh.. works of beauty.

    I love the inmotion of the Indy sequence… looks like Kanaan was coming right for you. Nice of Fisher to bump him safely away for you.

    The boat sequence is just amazing as well.

    Thanks again for sharing, here’s to a blessed 2009 for you.

    don j.

  4. Hey Mark,

    Nice work as usual. I was saddened though to not find my favorite photo of yours, the car sliding with sparks with the background sign reading “Trouble in turn 4…” That always grabs me.


  5. Martin says:

    That’s a great set of photos! I particularly like the last one of the drag boat breaking up.
    Somehow, you often manage to get shots of just the right moments!

    Have a great 2009!

  6. Jason says:

    Quick trigger you got there :P Keep ‘em coming!

  7. Hi,
    Beautiful photography.
    thanks for sharing.

  8. Great pictures!!

Leave a Reply