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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NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.