Three-time NHRA champion Larry Dixon walked away from a frightening crash at the Gatornationals on Saturday.

Dixon's car started to buckle at nearly 280 mph, broke apart, got airborne, landed hard and then slid into the outside retaining wall at Auto-Plus Raceway in Gainesville, Florida.

Dixon remained in the cockpit as safety workers reached him. He was alert, awake and talking to safety personnel before they helped him out. He walked to a waiting ambulance under his own power and waved to the crowd.

It was unclear what caused the chassis to buckle at such high speed.

The 48-year-old Dixon won the Top Fuel class in 2002, 2003 and 2010.

He drives for Bob Vandergriff Jr., and has 62 career victories.