Watch Alcohol Funny Car Crash at 250 mph (402 Kph)

It's hard to imagine what could ruin a sunny summer Saturday afternoon quicker than losing control of your 4,000 horsepower funny car and hitting a wall.
NHRA Crash 6 photos
Photo: Nitro Alley/YouTube
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That is exactly what happened to top Alcohol Funny Car driver Doug Gordon yesterday (August 20) as he was matched up against Shane Westerfield in the opening round of eliminations at the NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals.

Just after crossing the finish line in a loss to Westerfield, Gordon's car made a sharp left turn in behind Westerfield and smashed into the retaining wall prior to the chute coming out. He was traveling in excess of 245 mph (394 kph) at the time of the sudden change in direction. His car flipped over and made contact with the wall with the top of the car. Remarkably, just seconds after the wreckage came to a stop, Gordon was seen walking around and talking with the safety staff.

What is equally remarkable is the safety record of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) over the years. In a motor sport that realizes speeds in excess of 300 mph (482 kph) in the top classes, there have been only 10 fatalities over that last 25 years in NHRA sanctioned events.

The death of Eric Medlan in March of 2007 at Gainesville Raceway led to major safety measures implemented by the organization. Eric's accident did not take place during competition, but instead occurred at the Gator Nationals while testing for his team John Force Racing. On a test run, a punctured tire led the car to shake so violently the chassis snapped. The shaking of the car caused traumatic brain injury to Medlen who died fours days later.

NHRA executives, competitors, industry experts, NASA and military engineers gathered to focus on seat belts, padding, metal energy, and tires to improve safety at the speeds the cars perform.

As a result, changes happened quickly with tighter tolerances for the Chromoly tubing used to make the chassis. Roll cages were widen to create room for additional padding surrounding drivers' helmets and seven-point seat belts became a requirement to add stability and support for drivers.

All of these changes and a bit of luck surely played a role in Gordon's ability to shake, rattle, and roll, at over 245 mph, hit a wall, and walk away unscathed.

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