Somewhere deep in the bowels of an 8000 horsepower beast a part fails and within milliseconds, shards of hot metal, parts, hot oil and fire are expanding outward in all different directions.
With most motors detonating deep into the run of a Top Fuel dragster, the fans in the stands are relatively safe from the flying debris and spreading flames. Sitting in the cockpit, inches ahead of the motor, the driver is in definite peril. Amazingly, those parts and pieces, along with the fireball, expand far enough forward, despite the 200 – 300 mile per hour speed, to put the driver in real danger of being hurt.
Seven-time NHRA Top Fuel Champion Tony Schumacher experienced such an explosion on the first day of testing at Palm Beach International while preparing for the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle season.
“I didn't even know I was on fire,” commented Schumacher when asked about the incident. And when he says “I”, he means the car, with him in it.