Texas: Michael McDowell qualifying report

McDowell Walks Away from Violent Crash at Texas FORT WORTH, Texas (April 4, 2008) -- A smiling Michael McDowell walked out of the Texas Motor Speedway infield medical center this afternoon following a violent crash during qualifying his ...

McDowell Walks Away from Violent Crash at Texas

FORT WORTH, Texas (April 4, 2008) -- A smiling Michael McDowell walked out of the Texas Motor Speedway infield medical center this afternoon following a violent crash during qualifying his #00 Aaron's Dream Machine for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung 500.

Heading into Turn 1 on his second qualifying lap, McDowell's car twitched and shot up the track violently hitting the SAFER barrier wall nearly head on and then barrel rolled at least eight times. As the car rested right-side up, McDowell walked away from the wreckage, climbed into the back of the ambulance and was transported to the infield care center for observations.

"I'm not sure what happened because it got away from me so fast that it felt like I got into some oil, oil dry or either something broke," McDowell said. "I came off of Turn 4 and something didn't feel right. I told the guys it felt tight and that I was going to run another lap. Then I got down in there and it just started to pull right on me. I tried to gather it up, but I hit the wall and started rolling down from there. I didn't lose consciousness. I felt every roll down the hill. I had my eyes open the entire time."

The 23-year-old walked away unscathed with only what he called a few bumps and bruises.

"I'm standing here right now with no problems, but maybe a few bumps and bruises," McDowell said. "When I got out of the car my ankle hurt a little bit, but other than that I was fine. That's amazing to me. NASCAR has done an amazing job."

McDowell credits NASCAR and so many others for being able to walk away.

"It was a combination of everything," McDowell said. "I praise NASCAR for all the improvements they have done over the years. I can't say enough about the car itself, SAFER barrier walls, Dow Automotive IMPAXX™ Energy Absorbing Foam, the improved seats, helmets, and I can go on and on. It was a violent wreck and I lived through it all. Also, I really appreciate everyone at NASCAR, the medical staff, track workers and representatives from Texas Motor Speedway for their help today."

Michael Waltrip echoed his sentiments.

"You appreciate the effort, not only by the team, but by NASCAR," Waltrip said. "Tony George was instrumental in the creation of the SAFER barrier. I just have to tell you that millions of dollars were spent to try to make a car -- through the passion of Brett Bodine and Robin Pemberton and the passion that NASCAR has in that car -- to make the track safer was costly. But, when you see a wreck like that, it sure does make you feel good about what we've accomplished."

McDowell thanked as many people as he could and also showed sincere appreciation for his Michael Waltrip Racing team.

"I really want to thank my guys here today and all the guys back at the Michael Waltrip Racing shop because they were so instrumental in helping to make these cars extremely safe," McDowell said. "They spent the extra time to pad everything up. For me to walk away from that wreck right there, is unbelievable. I'm definitely going to count my blessings tonight and thank God for this opportunity to walk away from that wreck."

After walking out of the infield care center, the Glendale, Ariz., native talked to the media for about 15 minutes and then went over to his team to see his car sitting inside the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage. A couple hours later, McDowell finally headed to his coach expecting to be sore tomorrow.

"I'm not a doctor, but I'm going to guess I'm going to be pretty sore in the morning," McDowell said.

Even with that, McDowell agreed to do a live hit with The Early Show on CBS early in the morning and follow through with his sponsor commitments.

"It's exciting to be able to be on a show like that especially when you are a rookie trying to make a name for yourself," McDowell said. "I think Good Morning America is also going to show the wreck. Although, I don't want to make my name by big wrecks or making people mad like I did last week at Martinsville Speedway. I want to do it by track results. We'll bounce back from this deal today. We've got a good backup car. It's just a shame for us because I thought we had a shot to qualify inside the top 20."

-credit: mwr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Brett Bodine , Michael Waltrip , Michael McDowell , Tony George
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing