NASCAR's worst wreck in which a driver survived happened 15 years ago today


It's scenes like this that make you believe in miracles.

Some 15 years ago today, Mike Harmon was involved in a God-awful wreck during practice at Bristol that literally tore  his car in half. Not only did he survive, he got out of the wreck and walked away.

NASCAR's officials video, shown above, shows how the car disintegrated and how crew members bolted toward his car.

ABCNews, and others, often refer to this as the worst NASCAR wreck in which a driver survived because after Harmon hit the wall, he was struck by another race car on the track. In Anatomy of a Race Car Crash, ABC described it like this:

The smooth walls on NASCAR tracks are designed to allow cars to skim along them, so Harmon was expecting to bounce off the wall back toward the inside of the track.

But instead his car kept on going into the wall. He had had the bad luck to hit just at the point where the wall was interrupted by one of the track's two access gates. The gate was supposed to be secured with six thick metal posts, but they were not in place.

Harmon's Chevy slammed into the exposed edge of the wall. "It carved right through the car," he said. "All that saved my life ... was that it went on the right side of the engine instead of the left side of the engine."