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The 20 Worst Race Car Crashes Ever

A list of graphic videos of the worst race car crashes in automotive history. Many of these crashes were fatal. Automobile racing is a dangerous sport, and this list should serve as proof of the bravery (foolhardiness?) race car drivers exhibit out on the track. Thankfully, vehicle safety technology has increased greatly throughout the years and fatalities have become much less common.

This list is updated as these horrible accidents occur, including the latest such as Dan Wheldon's fatal crash. If there are any crashes I have missed, please let me know in the comments. Note that this is a list of videos, which is why crashes such as Depailler's death or Francois Cevert's gruesome crash in which he was cut in half have not been included. Drive safe.
  • Eddie Sachs & Dave MacDonald's Fatal Crash

    Video: YouTube
    The Indy 500, 1964. Dave MacDonald, driving what many regarded as a horribly built race car, lost control. Hitting the inside wall, MacDonald's car exploded then veered back across the track where it was broadsided by the car of Eddie Sachs, creating a second explosion. Johnny Rutherford, driving the car behind Sachs, was left with no choice but to hit the throttle and power through the carnage. With his car now on fire, Rutherford was then broadsided by Bobby Unser. The car behind Rutherford, driven by Ronnie Duman, was then rear ended by Bobby Unser, who now had no steering, causing Duman's car to also explode. MacDonald died two hours later in the hospital. Eddie Sachs died in his car. Fellow drivers reported seeing him trying to get out. This was the first time in history that the Indy 500 was stopped because of an accident.
  • Niki Lauda - 1976 Nurburgring

    Video: YouTube
    The Nordschleife, one of the most amazing race tracks in the world. In 1976, it was predetermined that the 14 mile track was no longer suitable for modern F1 safety regulations and television broadcasts. Niki Lauda, one of the greatest drivers in the sport, tried to boycott the race based on those safety concerns. The other drivers overruled Niki's suggestion, and as fate would have it, it would be Niki himself who would almost burn to death during the race. Niki was saved by three of his fellow drivers who stopped and pulled him from his car. Even though they had a Porsche, the race officials weren't able to get there quick enough.
  • Greg Moore's Fatal Crash

    Video: YouTube
    Greg Moore was a young, well liked driver in CART. In 1999, Moore lost control of his car while going over 200mph. The top, exposed portion of Moore's car collided with a concrete wall. Moore was critically injured and died shortly thereafter.
  • Alex Zanardi loses his Legs

    Video: YouTube
    In 2001, on the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, driver Alex Zanardi had the worst crash of his career (so far). Attempting to merge back onto the track after a pit stop, Zanardi spun out and was ultimately broadsided by the car driven by Alex Tagliani. The front of half of Zanardi's car was sheered off, taking Zanardi's legs with it. Zanardi would lose three quarters of his blood, but the medical crew was able to save his life. Zanardi still races today with prosthetic legs.