“He Almost Got Impaled”- Michael McDowell’s Resurfaced Vicious Wreck at Chase Elliott’s Favorite Track Sends Shockwaves Across NASCAR Community

Published 09/09/2023, 9:19 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

NASCAR is undeniably a dangerous sport. Just imagine the severity of a crash that occurs at speeds of 180 mph with a car flipping through the air—it’s truly brutal. Legends like Dale Earnhardt tragically lost their lives on the racetrack. Renowned tracks like Daytona and Talladega are synonymous with high-speed racing and, unfortunately, the specter of deadly crashes.

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A recent incident involving Ryan Preece at Daytona, where his car flipped in the air like a tossed coin, served as a stark reminder of past tragic accidents. It evoked memories of Michael McDowell’s heart-stopping crash, a video of which still sends chills down the spines of fans.

One of the bone-chilling crashes of the decade in NASCAR


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A resurfaced video reminded me of Michael McDowell’s NASCAR crash. In 2014, during the sprint race at Watkins Glen, Ryan Newman lost control of his #31 car, leading to the initial impact on an inside wall. After hitting the inside wall and spinning clockwise, #31 made rear-end contact with Michael McDowell’s #95 car. This collision caused McDowell’s car to rebound and slam hard into the outside wall.

The severity of this crash became evident when McDowell’s rear tire was found on the guardrail. During the ‘Not Another Racing podcast,’ McDowell vividly described the extent of the incident, mentioning how the guardrail had pierced through multiple parts of his car.


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McDowell said, “I hit the guardrail and the guardrail went through the car. And it ripped the rear end out. (…) When you look at the car, the guardrail literally went through the rear firewall took the tunnel out of the transmission tunnel went through the front firewall and into the engine block. And there was no floor left in the right side.”

One of the more forgotten crashes of the last decade. I didn’t realise until rewatching just how badly damaged Mcdowells car was in his wreck at Watkins 2014
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“When I get back to the shop I was like, “Hey do you think the guardrail would’ve gone through that seat?’ And they are like,’It went through the engine block”.

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A resurfaced video of this incident served as a stark reminder of its seriousness, leading to an outpouring of shock and sorrow in the comment section.

“That’s actually insane”- The community reflects on its gravity and draws comparisons

Some expressed their concerns about how, even at lower speeds on road courses, crashes can be potentially fatal, particularly noting the NASCAR Watkins Glen’s history of serious accidents. Some recalled his Texas crash and compared them with each other.

One fan wrote, “I feel like Watkins Glenn had a stretch of 5-6 years of insanity where we were begging for more road courses then it abruptly stopped.”

Another recalled the severity, “McDowell said he almost got impaled, the guardrail went through the engine firewall on the passenger side”

“Yeah I didn’t know it was this bad either. Didn’t know the guardrail went through the car.”

“Thats actually insane”

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There was also an appreciation for McDowell’s resilience, with a comment stating, “That guy’s had some crazy wrecks in some shitty cars. Glad he’s finally found equipment good enough he can out perform it.”


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“ooh I was there for that. crowd reaction was just as you’d expect. dropped silent pretty quick.”

“Hot take: Watkins Glen is the most dangerous track on the schedule”

“Everyone loves to point out the vicious wrecks at Daytona and Talladega but the road courses have some pretty crazy wrecks too considering they’re running at much lower speeds.”


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What do you think?



Written by:

Moinakhtar Akhunji


One take at a time

Moinakhtar Akhunji is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. With a love for racing spanning almost a decade, he brings his passion and expertise to every article he writes. Growing up as an automobile enthusiast, he quickly developed a deep appreciation for the technical and competitive aspects of both F1 and NASCAR.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta




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