The NHRA season is off to an explosive start. Not that current top fuel champion Antron Brown is all too happy about it.

On Sunday, during eliminations at the NHRA Winternationals, the engine of Brown's top fuel dragster exploded, sending the car crashing into the barrier wall.

According to USA Today:

The blast took out both rear tires and sent the car, which had burst into flames, careening into the left-side guard wall. The blazing car then continued to slide along the track before hitting the right-side guard wall and sliding into the safety sand trap, where the car finally came to a halt.

Fortunately for Brown, who drives for Don Schumacher Racing, he was using a new canopy that is designed specifically for safety.

The canopy is built for safety, not aerodynamics, but it has created a bit of controversy. The system adds weight to a car (about 30 pounds), adds cost (about $12,000), and requires a significant overhaul of the cockpit of a car, which typically costs about $250,000 to build. The cars with canopies need new seats, additional padding, and a new fire extinguishing system.

Looking at the crash, I am sure Brown doesn't think there is any controversy in using the canopy.

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