Fly-By Friday: Which Car Did it Best?

For my final installment of Fly-By Friday, I pose this question to you: which car did it best? Cars aren’t meant to fly, of course – not yet, anyway – and yet they still do on occasion, usually by accident. Let’s look at four examples of cars aloft.
Some accidents, like the one shown above, are relatively low-speed, but when it comes to sprint cars, you never know how they will react. With so much horsepower and so little weight be carried, they are two handfuls to begin with. Getting them out of shape can lead to cars flipping and dancing through the air, sometimes off the track completely.

On the other hand, they could be moving at a very high speed. There’s the famous image of the 1999 Lemans 24 Hour incident with Mark Webber and his flying Mercedes. A combination of unstable aerodynamic bodywork with the bumpy roads caused the car to go skyward.
Then there were the flying Chevys during the 2015 Indy 500 practice sessions. No fewer than three cars took to the skies over Speedway, Indiana last May, and Indycar duly responded by slowing down all 33.
In this picture, Greg Sacks is about to get his (Dinner) bell rung when he hits the bull’s-eye and lands on Lake Speed. By the way, check out the glass windshield and door skins welded to a frame of a stock chassis: NASCAR has come a long way, baby.
So which of these does it best (worst)? Is it the pirouetting sprint car, the tail happy Chevy, the back-flipping Merc, or the soaring stock car? Do you have a better example to trump these? Let’s see and hear it in the comments.

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  1. CraigSu Avatar

    Whenever an accident is mentioned that involves flight I immediately think of 2 examples:
    1. The aforementioned Webber/Mercedes incident at Le Mans.
    2. The 1964 crash at the World 600 NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway that led to the death of Fireball Roberts.

    Roberts’ car didn’t really get airborne very much (it hit a retaining wall and flipped upside down) but what brings it to mind is that I was there when it happened, just a few weeks shy of my 3rd birthday. I distinctly remember the black plumes of smoke from the accident. Coincidentally, my future wife (not quite 11 years old then) was driving by the speedway with her family and saw the same smoke plumes rising from the track.

  2. Papa Van Twee Avatar
    Papa Van Twee

    Mario Andretti, Indianapolis, 2003. I think he stepped into Michael’s car for testing, and got the ride of his life:

    1. CraigSu Avatar

      But he stuck the landing! Full points awarded!

      1. Papa Van Twee Avatar
        Papa Van Twee

        And he only had a cut on his chin.