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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Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.