Is This the Worst Top Fuel Engine Explosion Ever?

When you’re out there racing, you really never know what’s going to ...

When you’re out there racing, you really never know what’s going to happen. Most of the time, a worst-case scenario would be some kind of engine malfunction or potentially a crash that gets pretty ugly but those things happening are kind of few and far between enough that racers can somewhat be at ease when they step up to the plate to go to battle. It’s always a thought that’s in the back of their heads, though, I’m sure.

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This time, we check out what might be one of the worst Top Fuel engine explosions in all of NHRA history and all went down almost two decades ago at the 1999 NHRA Auto Club Finals at Pomona. When Doug Herbert rolled up to the line to go to battle, let’s just say that he experienced and ultimately walked away from something that is nothing short of life-changing.



As Herbert attempted to launch off of the line, something went very wrong, causing his engine to completely explode, sending pieces everywhere in a display that people on the scene said destroyed the engine to the point that there were pretty much no recognizable engine pieces left. Something like this is bound to really put you back in your seat.

In the long run, everyone did end up being alright but this monumental feat did end up injuring 14, 10 of which had to be sent to the hospital to be treated and four of which were treated on location, all ending in minor injuries. All in all, the situation in and of itself would put a new twist in the rulebook that would forever make the NHRA a different series. If you dare, check out the video below from all those years ago that showcases the massive explosion that we hope to never see unfold in a similar fashion again. We wouldn’t wish something like this on the worst of enemies.

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