Drag racer Mark Taliaferro walks away from horrific crash (video)

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Drag racer Mark Taliaferro is one very lucky individual after one of the season’s most horrific crashes during Sunday’s final eliminations of the O’Reilly Auto Parts Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Washington.

Taliaferro, from Odessa, Texas, competes in the NHRA’s Top Alcohol Dragster class, which is essentially the feeder class for Top Fuel. Think of it as being to the NHRA what the Nationwide Series is to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

When he took the green “go” light at the starting line, Taliaferro immediately got into trouble — and things just got worse from there. After losing traction and smoking his tires, his car did a hard 90-degree turn, crossed the median stripe and hit the retaining wall on the opposite line head-on. The impact ruptured the engine, causing it to explode.

[RELATED: More on drag racing from MST]

Thankfully, as NHRA officials reported afterwards, Taliaferro was uninjured. But you can bet he’ll keep a copy of this tape to one day show his grandkids, if not become the latest installment of the “And They Walked Away” series.

In addition to checking out the video below, click here to visit Taliaferro’s Facebook page, which contains many more photos and information.

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Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”