Michael McDowell Crash Composite

During qualifying for the Samsung 500 Michael McDowell plowed the #00 “Aaron’s Dream Machine” nose first into the turn one wall at nearly 200 miles per hour. After impact the car flipped into the air, rolling sideways, belching fire and leaving a trail of parts until it finally came to rest about a quarter mile away at the bottom of turn two.

Without a doubt, I can say that it’s the most gruesome and spectacular crash that I have ever seen live.

McDowell pulled himself from the car and walked away with only bumps and scratches.

Luckily, I had my camera aimed that direction and started firing quick enough to catch most of the carnage. Click the image above to see a composite of the scene stitched together from the nine or ten frames I was able to fire off as the car careened down the track.

Or click here to download the original size and scroll around to your heart’s content.

You can also check out the individual photos in a set by clicking here.

Michael McDowell is one supremely fortunate dude.


Steve Schulmeyer · 15 April 2008 at 8:49 AM

Wow!!! what great photos…you had a great vantage point for that crash and the race…my wife and I were at the IRL race last year at Texas…a very nice track with great facilities…we live in Indy and go to all the races here (have gone to all 500’s beginning in 1969)…what kind of camera and lens were you using?…Thanks for sharing your photos!

Bo · 15 April 2008 at 4:07 PM

Thanks! I was using a Canon 20D with a 100-400 f4.5L lens. It’s a great piece of glass.

Bethany Halford · 9 January 2009 at 2:26 PM

Hi Bo,

I’m writing an article on materials innovations and how they’ve made NASCAR safer. I was looking for a good photo of McDowell’s crash when I came across your composite image at flickr. Any chance we could use the image? Drop me an email and we can discuss it.


Bethany Halford
Associate Editor
Chemical & Engineering News

SIDEHIKE.NET » Blog Archive » Chemical & Engineering News uses one of my photos · 13 July 2009 at 10:19 PM

[…] photos was used in the cover story of the February 2009 issue of Chemical & Engineering News. That photo across the two page spread is mine. You can also read the article (and view the photo) on their website by clicking […]

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