Did you know … that Invisible Fire is Real?

Talladega Nights hilariously made fun of the concept, but In the 1981 Indy 500, an invisible fire broke out that was no laughing matter.

It all started when driver Rick Mears stopped to refuel on lap 58. The fuel nozzle opened prematurely, spilling methanol all over the car, the driver and the crew.

The hot engine ignited the methanol, which unlike everyday gasoline, burns clear. Chaos ensued as people realized there was an invisible fire ripping trough the pit.

Mears was unable to breath as he was covered in flames from his waist up. A safety worker tried to help him remove his helmet until he was lit on fire.

Mears jumped over the pit wall but he also burned the fire crews and they dropped the extinguisher. Mears tried to extinguish himself until is dad finally came to save the day.

Mears would need plastic surgery on his face and 7 people would suffer injuries but luckily methanol doesn’t burn as hot as gasoline and there were no other major injuries.

The incident prompted a redesign to the fuel nozzle used on IndyCar’s, and Rick Mears went on to become one of the greatest drivers in the history of the Indianapolis 500.



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