April 4 is a date that will live in infamy at Texas Motor Speedway, site of Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 (pre-race coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday on FOX).
It was on this date exactly nine years ago when Michael McDowell had one of the most horrifying single-car accidents in NASCAR history.
McDowell, who at the time drove for the now-defunct Michael Waltrip Racing team, was attempting to qualify at Texas when he lost control of his car going into Turn 1 to start his qualifying lap.
The rear end of the No. 55 Toyota swung out toward the wall, and McDowell tried to catch but overcorrected and went nearly headfirst into the Turn 1 wall in a violent impact at nearly 200 miles per hour.
The car flipped over and landed on its roof, when it launched into a series of barrel rolls, shedding parts as it rolled over and over and over again.
McDowell’s battered Toyota wound up in Turn 2 apron, right side up, with the engine on fire.
Amazingly, McDowell walked away from the savage crash, which made national headlines.
McDowell’s destroyed Toyota now sits in Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s race car graveyard.