Driver who died of head injuries in NHRA crash at New Jersey’s Raceway Park identifiedBy Bruce Shipkowski, AP
Friday, June 11, 2010
Driver killed in crash at NJ raceway identified
OLD BRIDGE, N.J. — Authorities have identified the drag racing driver killed in an accident at a New Jersey Raceway as 58-year-old Neal Parker of Millville, N.J.
New Jersey State Police say Parker’s alcohol-fueled funny car ran through a net at the end of the track and he died of head injuries.
The accident occurred shortly before noon Friday during a qualifying round at the NHRA SuperNationals at Raceway Park in Old Bridge.
The accident comes nearly two years after top racer Scott Kalitta died when his Funny Car burst into flames and crashed at the end of the track in central New Jersey.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
OLD BRIDGE, N.J. (AP) — A drag racing driver ran through a net at the end of a track and died of head injuries in a crash during a qualifying round at the NHRA SuperNationals at a New Jersey raceway Friday, state police said.
The driver, whose name has not been released, crashed at Raceway Park in Old Bridge, N.J., Sgt. Stephen Jones said.
Spectator David Farrah of Manalapan said it appeared the driver couldn’t stop.
“It looked like the chute just didn’t open and he couldn’t stop,” Farrah said. “The car was just crushed. It was tragic.”
Another spectator, George Tompkins, 63, of Metuche, said he left the stands shortly before the crash. He didn’t see the wreck, but said he heard it.
“You heard that sound and knew right away that it was bad,” he said.
Racing was suspended for more than three hours while the crash was being investigated. NHRA officials said they planned to resume qualifying races at about 4 p.m.
Friday’s accident comes nearly two years after top racer Scott Kalitta died when his Funny Car burst into flames and crashed at the end of the track in central New Jersey.
Kalitta’s Toyota Solara was traveling at about 300 mph when it burst into flames.
New Jersey State Police investigators determined that “catastrophic mechanical failure” caused the fuel-fired explosion.
The 1994 and 1995 Top Fuel season champion had 18 career victories.
In February, a spectator died after being hit by a tire from a crashing dragster at the NHRA Arizona Nationals. The woman was watching a first-round Top Fuel run when Antron Brown’s Matco Tools/U.S. Army dragster went out of control on the strip and its left rear wheel came off.
Tags: Accidents, Automobile Racing, Fires, New Jersey, Nhra, North America, Old Bridge, Sports, Transportation, United States