POMONA, Calif. -- Just call Mike Austin the luckiest man in California on Saturday.
Austin walked away unhurt from a terrifying crash during the O'Reilly Auto Parts Winternationals, where his Top Alcohol Dragster flew over the retaining wall in the first round of eliminations.
Austin, who lives in Medford, Ore., was along for the ride when his dragster made a violent turn to the right from the right lane.
The car turned over on its left side before the nose went over the wall and shot the dragster into the air. At one point, the entire car was more than 10 feet off the ground and twirling around in the air.
Austin's car slammed back down to the pavement between the track and the grandstands. It slid all the way down the support lane, and slammed the underside of the chassis into the base of the timing and scoring tower.
Safety Safari workers rushed to the scene and the crowd sat in silence, hoping and praying Austin was OK. After a few minutes, word came that Austin was alert and speaking to safety officials.
He was helped out of the car and walked away, but safety officials said his first reaction was anger over tearing up his dragster.
Being mad never looked so good.