Monday, February 22, 2010

Spectator Killed at NHRA Event Arizona Nationals

During a drag racing competition on Sunday February 21st, a female spectator died after being hit by a large piece of debris at NHRA (National Hod Road Association) Arizona Nationals event at Firebird Raceway. In an accident during the first round matches for the NHRA Top Fuel drag racing series, a pairing between Troy Buff and Antron Brown resulted in an incident where Brown's Don Schumacher Racing-owned Top Fuel dragster lost its left rear wheel. As Brown's dragster shot sideways, the rear tire launched over the side of the vehicle going airborne. This action caused the tire to fly into the grandstands striking a woman. As the Top Fuel dragster slid to a stop, Brown was able to exit the damaged vehicle without injury. However, the woman had to be airlifted to Good Samaritan Hospital. In serious condition, she was pronounced death shortly afterwards on Sunday night. Reports indicate the woman was pushing another person in a wheelchair as the top fuel car's rear tire struck her.

In a statement placed on the Don Schumacher Racing website early Monday, team owner of Atron Brown's dragster Don Schumacher passed condolences for the entire tragedy. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the woman. There are simply no words to adequately express our feelings, but we can assure you that we are conducting a thorough investigation to determine how this happened."

The NHRA are currently investigating the accident. It appears most likely that the NHRA will focus on how the left rear wheel assembly detached from the top fuel dragster. "Safety is NHRA’s top priority, for not only our racers, but the millions of fans who attend events around the country. The set of circumstances that led to Sunday’s tragedy is being investigated by NHRA and the race team. " said the drag racing sanctioning body.

While loss of life of drivers and crew are enormously tragic, the motorsport world truly turns sad when a spectator becomes an innocent victim of a sport which continues to make no illusions about its danger.

XSL Speed Reporter joins the motorsport media in paying deepest sympathies to the friends and family to the woman who died.

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