It was one of the most spectacular single-car wrecks that many of the NASCAR old-timers had ever seen. The impact of Michael McDowell's No.00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota knocked a 28-foot long hole in the track SAFER barrier (it took a...
It was one of the most spectacular single-car wrecks that many of the NASCAR old-timers had ever seen.
The impact of Michael McDowell's No.00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota knocked a 28-foot long hole in the track SAFER barrier (it took a 10-person Texas Motor Speedway crew three hours to repair it.) The car, on fire, then flipped down the banked track nine times before coming to rest on its tires.
The driver walked away, much to his own amazement.
"When it [the car] hooked, it hooked pretty hard to the right..when that first happened, the actual steering column had broken. I was still holding onto the wheel, but it wasn't connected to anything," said McDowell. "Those first two rolls - as I backed in and started rolling - those first two were pretty violent as far as flailing around. But, those last five or six took forever..I'm like, 'When is this thing going to stop rolling down the track?'"
He reflected, "I think it's pretty remarkable that I'm here today driving. That was obviously a very serious wreck. I'm glad we got through [Saturday] practices..without any drama. We definitely need to get through tomorrow's [Samsung 500 race] without any hiccups."
NASCAR plans to use its Research and Development team to inspect the Toyota and determine, if possible, any contributing factors to the accident. They will compare the car's measurements taken before the race and compare those figures, as much possible, with the wrecked vehicle.
The team fabricating shop has its hands full to prepare for the Cup event Sunday, but the driver is still in good shape, with a positive attitude to go with his minor scrapes and bumps.
He ran a 30.481 at 177.160 for the final "Happy Hour" practice session today (Carl Edwards was the fastest driver for both practice sets, with his best time at 29.181 at 185.052 in the final set today.)
"We all know racing cars at 210 mph is dangerous," said McDowell. "It's just part of the job that we do. Unfortunately, it takes big accidents like that for us to remember..if you're thinking of getting hurt out in a race car and you're worried about that, you won't be much of a race car driver."
"I'm done being the test dummy for the COT, though," said McDowell with a wry smile. "I'm going to make that clear; I'm going to let someone else do it."