Video footage of the incident shows the car behind Abel’s go up first in a firey explosion, followed seconds later by the Top End champ’s own vehicle.
Speaking to the NT News after the event, Abel said both he and the other driver were fine but the same could not be said about their cars.
“We went out for the first race of the night and we didn’t really have too much dramas,” he said.
“Then that car in the other lane had a huge explosion at the start line which I didn’t know anything about (at the time) because I’d already gone.
“Then just as we were approaching probably the 1000 foot mark on the track something broke inside the engine — not exactly sure (what) because we didn’t pull it apart yet — blew the body off the race car and caught fire.”
Abel said the safety gear the two drivers were wearing meant no one was hurt in the dramatic end to the race.
“The fire systems on the car did its job and got the fire out pretty quickly,” he said.
“He probably got a larger boom than I did but it would have dissipated quite quickly.”
The Nitro Night event bills itself as an “explosive night of supercharged nitro fuelled drag racing action”.