This is what you call catastrophic engine failure.
With all the safety gear and design advancements made over the last few decades, it's easy to forget just how dangerous auto racing can be. On pretty much any given day you can find photos or videos of people walking away from some pretty horrendous crashes, but we haven’t seen something this fiery and spectacular in quite awhile. And yes, each driver walked away.
The crash occurred during the Toyota 100 Super Late Model race at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington. It’s a multi-use track with a paved 5/8-mile outer oval that the racers were using last Saturday night for the race. According to The Seattle Times, the crash started with an engine failure in the no. 12 car driven by Trenton Moriarty as he entered the first turn, sending oil all across the track. The slick surface then collected drivers Tyler Tanner and Jeff Knight, who both struck the wall as well.
Watching the video, it’s not entirely clear which car caused the massive explosion. All three appear to hit the wall in pretty much the same location, but the blinding fireball effectively obscures the action until the three cars drift apart. We see Moriarty climb out of his car, as well as Tyler Tanner at the top of the screen. Tanner then rushes to Jeff Knight’s car and helps pull the driver to safety.
Knight did visit the hospital for minor burns but was released in time to attend church on Sunday. Which is good, because Knight is actually Rev. Jeff Knight of The Rock Church in Monroe. He told his followers on Sunday that he was still the same guy despite the crash, except perhaps a bit more grateful.
The race was delayed 35 minutes in what announcers said was the scariest wreck in the track’s 63-year history. Considering the impact and the flames, it certainly could’ve been much worse. Knight might be a bit grateful, but we’re very grateful everyone lived to race another day.