We can't imagine anything much scarier than a steering wheel coming off in your hands while traveling at a high rate of speed. But, that's just what happened to Dale Earnhardt Jr. during Sunday's GEICO 500 at Talladega.
Junior managed to avoid complete disaster by remaining calm under pressuer and controlling the car using the steering column until he could reattach the wheel.
"Oh, it (came) off. Yeah, I didn't have it on there. Luckily it was under caution," Earnhardt told the press following the race. "I just grabbed the shaft and steered the car that way. Ripped the skin off my hand, but I wasn't going to let it hit the wall. That was just a freak deal. … We're working on something to keep that from happening going forward."
A similar incident occurred earlier this year in Phoenix when fellow NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson wrecked when his own steer wheel came loose.
Earnhardt's steering wheel incident was the beginning of a rough afternoon for the driver, who was a favorite to win at Talladega. After wrecks on Lap 50 and Lap 110 and a 40th place finish, Earnhardt called it a day.
"Hell, I'm done," Earnhardt said after the second wreck. "I'm going home."