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Owen details Adelaide 500 blackout crash

Steve Owen has reflected on one of the most frightening moments in Supercars history, when he passed out while at the wheel in the 2006 Adelaide 500.

Having just paid to get out of the second year of his Britek Motorsport contract, Owen was heading towards a strong first race for Rod Nash Racing when the effects of a cool suit failure started to set in.

Having qualified 16th in the 31-car field – meaning he shared the eighth row of the grid with 2005 champion Russell Ingall – Owen soldiered through adversity in a desperate bid to make a good first impression.

“Everything was going really well; I thought ‘how good is this, I made the right choice’,” he recalled on Part 2 of his V8 Sleuth Podcast polished by Bowden’s Own episode.

“And then I just remember in the race, the cool suit failed, and I remember thinking that it was just such a good opportunity, I can’t pull in and say, ‘I’m too hot’.

“So I just thought I’ll keep going. I knew I was battling a bit but back in those days, if you finished on the lead lap, you were probably P15.

“I thought, ‘if I finish on the lead lap and then we come back tomorrow and fix the cool suit, we can still leave top 10 in the championship’. It didn’t go so well.”

Owen’s condition deteriorated the further the race wore on.

“I remember having to close one eye at one stage because I couldn’t really see properly,” he said.

“And then I’m pretty sure I accidentally unclipped one of the belts trying to loosen it, because I thought ‘if I loosen the belts, the cool suit might work a bit better’.

“I remember one of them came out… by this stage it was kind of like being blind drunk, I didn’t have the best thought process.”

He ultimately slowed and then crashed out on Lap 58 of 78, fortunately in a not-too-severe manner.

“From memory, because I had passed out, I luckily came off the throttle,” said Owen.

Pic: an1images.com

“So I rattled around the outside fence at Turn 8 and then just idled down to Turn 9 and crashed into the fence at walking speed. It didn’t do much damage to the car luckily.

“I woke up in the hospital and I just remember seeing the chaplain at the end of the bed. They said, ‘you’ve had a big crash’ and I’m like ‘that’s not good’.

“And I was like a Simpsons character, I was all yellow, because it breaks down your muscle and blocks your kidneys and all that sort of stuff, just with the extreme body temperature.

“I was 42.5 degrees when I got to Adelaide Hospital which they said is the highest they’d ever seen.

“The doctor was like, ‘I need to talk to someone to make sure this doesn’t happen again, because you’re nearly dead’.”

Owen remained in hospital for several days, leaving him to watch the Sunday Adelaide race on television.

He discusses many more ups and downs from his lengthy career in the episode, including his race-winning partnerships with Jamie Whincup and Mark Winterbottom.

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