Monday, June 17, 2024
HomeMoreRacingThrowback: 'Invisible Flames' of 1981 Indy 500 with Shocking Incident

Throwback: ‘Invisible Flames’ of 1981 Indy 500 with Shocking Incident

- Advertisement -

In the world of motorsports, danger is an ever-present companion. The 1981 Indianapolis 500 (Indy 500) witnessed a harrowing incident that left spectators and participants in shock. Rick Mears, a seasoned race car driver, found himself engulfed in flames during a routine pit stop. What made this accident particularly chilling was the nature of the fire: it burned with an almost invisible flame.

The Methanol Fire at Indy 500

- Advertisement -

Rick Mears pitted on lap 58 during the 1981 Indy 500. As his crew prepared to refuel his car, methanol fuel gushed out of the refueling hose before it was securely connected. The volatile fuel sprayed not only the car but also Mears and his mechanics.

Methanol, commonly used in racing cars, burns with a flame that is nearly impossible to see in daylight. Unlike gasoline fires, which produce visible flames and smoke, methanol combustion lacks these telltale signs. As a result, many people present at the pit stop failed to recognize the danger unfolding before their eyes.

- Advertisement -

Throwback: 'Invisible Flames' of 1981 Indy 500 with Shocking Incident

Rick Mears, his face burning, struggled to breathe as the flames consumed him. Desperate and in pain, he ran toward the pit wall, attempting to remove his helmet. His mechanics, equally trapped in the invisible inferno, waved their arms frantically, seeking help.

- Advertisement -

Rick’s father, Bill Mears, rushed to his son’s aid. Armed with a fire extinguisher, Bill sprayed the flames engulfing Rick. Meanwhile, other crew members extinguished the fire on the mechanics and the car. Miraculously, no one sustained serious injuries.

Rick Mears underwent plastic surgery for third-degree burns. Despite the trauma, he expressed empathy for the volunteer firefighter who had fled the scene. The firefighter, lacking a fireproof suit, had been ill-equipped to face the invisible flames.

READ MORE: Kyle Larson’s Heroic Entry From Indy 500 Qualifying to North Wilkesboro All-Star Race

- Advertisement -
Moin
Moin
I'm Moin Akhunji, a passionate sports writer renowned for my unique storytelling approach. My expertise spans across various sports, notably NASCAR, F1, and IndyCar. I hold a profound admiration for athletes like Chase Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr. When I'm not crafting articles, you'll likely find me trekking in the hills, indulging in my favorite hobby.
- Advertisment -

Subscribe to get notified for latest news and updates

Latest Articles

More from author

- Advertisment -