Drag Strip Deaths


      2000-2004 Fatalities
Jon Andres

Born:  April 30, 1960

Died:  August 11, 2001


Age:  41

Full Name:   Jonathan Andres 


Drag Strip:  Spokane Raceway, Washington

Event:  AHRA World Finals

Accident Date:  August 11, 2001

Car:  Harley-Davidson T/F bike

Biographical:  He drifted off the race track, hit a bump, and flew over the handlebars while traveling at a speed of about 180 MPH.  He landed face-first at the edge of the race track.  He was transported to Deaconess Medical Center in Spokane where he died from his injuries shortly after arriving.  He hadn't ridden top fuel bikes for a number of years, but was the principal tuner on the fatal bike which he had been working on for another rider.  He was a veteran racer of eleven years and was from Abbotsford, British Columbia.  He was survived by his wife, Cindy, two sons and a daughter.


http://www.sacoriver.net/~red/jon.html  (accessed 12/21/10)

"Motorcycle drag-racer dies in crash," Vancouver Sun, August 15, 2001 (http://www.northernthunder.com/andrescrash.html)


"Motorcycle drag-racer dies in crash," Vancouver Sun, August 15, 2001 (http://www.northernthunder.com/andrescrash.html)


Wayne Bailey

Born:  January 6, 1953

Died:  October 14, 2000


Age:  47

Full Name:   Wayne Lee Bailey 

Nickname:  "Bongo"

Drag Strip:  Red River Raceway, near Gilliam, Louisiana

Event:  IHRA World Finals

Accident Date:  October 13, 2000

Car:  "Pizza Company" T/F dragster

Biographical:  His dragster split in half as it raced down the track and crashed into a concrete retaining wall during qualifying.  He was transported by helicopter to the Louisiana State University Health Science Trauma Center in Shreveport.  He died early the next morning from severe trauma.  His best time in the dragster was a 4.95 and 293.73 MPH. He resided in Leonard, Michigan.



"Auto racing," Miami Herald, October 15, 2000

"Racing officials to investigate fatal accident," Shreveport Times, October 16, 2000

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=576)


"Top fuel driver Wayne Bailey killed," IHRA Motorsports  (http://www.nitrojamonline.com/news/2000/october/14bailey.html)


Dennis Baker

Born:  June 27, 1969

Died:  June 5, 2001

Buried:  Forest Lawn Cemetery, Erlanger, Kentucky

Age:  31

Full Name:   Dennis Ray Baker, Jr. 


Drag Strip:  Edgewater Sports Park, Cleves, Ohio

Event:  testing

Accident Date:  June 1, 2001

Car:  dragster

Biographical:  He was testing a newly-built dragster when the throttle stuck.  He tried to slow the car by scraping it against the retaining wall.  Unfortunately the dragster rolled over.  He was paralyzed from the waist down in the accident.  He developed an infection several days after the accident and died in University Hospital in Cincinnati.  He was survived by his parents, brother, sister, and his fiancee.


"Dennis Ray Baker Jr. came from racing family," Cincinnati Enquirer, June 8, 2001

QueenCityMotorsports.com (http://home.fuse.net/kewendel/QCM_DC_Dennis_Baker_Jr.html)

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=857) 


Find a Grave website


Andy Beauford

Born: December 27, 1980

Died: February 2, 2002


Age: 21

Full Name:   Samuel Andrew Beauford


Drag Strip:  Carolina Dragway, Jackson, South Carolina


Accident Date:  February 2, 2002

Car:   1993 Ford Mustang

Biographical: Just after being clocked at 104 MPH, he lost control of the car, veered to the left, struck some water barrels, and flipped over. It was the first fatal accident at the race track in 18 years. He lived in Greenwood, South Carolina.


Social Security Death Index

"Drag racing death is ruled an accident," Aiken Standard, Feb. 4, 2002

"Racer killed at Jackson drag strip," Aiken Standard, Feb. 3, 2002

Dennis Begyn

Born:  November 25, 1953

Died:  May 24, 2002

Buried:  Illinois City Cemetery, Illinois

Age:  48

Full Name:    Dennis Martin Begyn


Drag Strip:  Cordova Dragway Park, Illinois


Accident Date:  May 24, 2002

Car:   Pro Street Chevrolet Nova

Biographical:   On his final run he lost control of his car at a speed of 150 MPH and it rolled violently.  He was survived by his wife, Sandra, and two sons.  He was from Taylor Ridge, Illinois. His sons built an 8-foot tall stainless steel tombstone to memorialize him. Some thought the tombstone was a work of art, but it sparked controversy with others.


"Memorial or menace?" Moline Dispatch, Jan. 1, 2003

"Witnesses: Fuel was leaking from drag racer's car," Quad-City Times, August 30, 2002  (http://m.qctimes.com/mobile/sports/article_0c75a6b2-e6eb-5e26-8b7e-0c1aca9d618d.html

http://pages.suddenlink.net/mack/obits/B/BegynDennisM.htm (accessed 12/21/10)

"Racing monument revs up controversy in small-town cemetery," Taphophilia.com  (http://www.taph.com/freedom-of-expression/racing-monument-revs-up-controversy-in-small-town-cemetery-2.html


Find a Grave (photo courtesy of Julie Wagner) 





Larry Bowen

Born:  September 2, 1953

Died:  July 9, 2000

Buried: Lakeland Hills Memorial Park, Burnet, Texas

Age:  46

Full Name:   Larry Coleman Bowen


Drag Strip:  Lone Star Raceway Park, Sealy, Texas

Event:  Holley Sportsman Championship

Accident Date:  July 9, 2000

Car:   "Bubbaland Express" dragster

Biographical:  He suffered a fatal heart attack during the race.  A veteran of twenty years in racing, he lived in Marble Falls, Texas.  He was survived by his daughter. 


Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1863)

Social Security Death Index

Texas Death Index (Ancestry.com)


Phil Burghard

Born:  September 14, 1969

Died:  April 5, 2003

Buried: unknown

Age:  33

Full Name:    John Phillip Burghard


Drag Strip:  Gateway International Raceway, Madison, Illinois

Event:  NHRA Spring Sportsman Challenge XI

Accident Date:  April 5, 2003

Car:  2003 Chevrolet Corvette

Biographical:  After reaching a speed of 155.76 MPH on his second qualifying run, he lost control of his car and crashed in the sand trap at the end of the shutdown area.  The car eventually stopped in a creek after smashing through several barriers.  He was transported to St. Louis University Hospital Trauma Center where he was pronounced dead. He was from Worthington, Ohio.


"Drag racer killed in crash at Gateway," Belleville News-Democrat, April 6, 2003

"Drag racer killed in crash in Illinois," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 6, 2003

"Drag racer killed," Montreal Gazette, April 6, 2003

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1616) 


Find a Grave website (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=burghard&GSbyrel=in&GSdy=2003&GSdyrel=in&GSob=n&GRid=7333272&)

Jack Dustman

Born:  November 7, 1958

Died:  June 4, 2000


Age:  41

Full Name:   Jack Thomas Dustman  


Drag Strip:  Grand Bend Motorplex, Ontario, Canada

Event:  IHRA MoparParts Canadian Nationals

Accident Date:  June 4, 2000

Car:  "Rubber City Bomber" jet dragster

Biographical:  During an exhibition run, his jet dragster reached a speed of 198.85 MPH, but his parachute failed to open.  He tried to stop the speeding car with his brakes, but rolled several times in the sand trap before crashing into trees.  He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was survived by his wife, Gina, and a daughter.  They lived in Malvern, Ohio.  His fastest speed to that date in the jet dragster had been 322 MPH at 4.929 seconds.  The engine was a J-60 Pratt & Whitney.


"Drag racer killed in crash," AP Online, June 5, 2000

"Drag racer killed in Grand Bend," Peterborough Examiner, June 5, 2000 

"Drag racer dies in crash," Toronto Sun, June 5, 2000

"Drag racer killed in high-speed crash at competition in Grand Bend," Canadian Press, June 5, 2000

"Death notice," Akron Beacon Journal, June 7, 2000

"Man killed in jet dragster," Sarasota Herald-Tribune, June 6, 2000

"Area deaths," Akron Beacon Journal, June 7, 2000

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1643) 


Drag Race Canada! website  (http://www.dragracecanada.com/events/int_phot_04.htm)

http://www.legacy.com/guestbook/guestbook.aspx?n=jack-dustman&pid=9578&page=2  (accessed 12/21/10)


Dustman was killed only seconds after this photo was taken.

Bob Ellison

Born:  July 7, 1941

Died:  June 25, 2004

Buried:  Puritan Lawn Memorial Park, Peabody, Massachusetts

Age:  62

Full Name:  Robert Hammond Ellison


Drag Strip:  Indianapolis Raceway Park, Indiana

Event:  Goodguys Hot Rod Nationals

Accident Date:  June 13, 2004

Car:  1933 Willys Ellison & McGarvey A/GS

Biographical:  He was racing against the Prock & Howell A/GS entry and crashed.   He was transported to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis where he later died from his injuries.  He lived in Peabody, Massachusetts, and was survived by his wife, Shirley, and a son and daughter.  He had been racing since the 1960s and had formerly been a crew chief and partner in the Boston Strangler funny car.  He was on the board of directors of New England Dragway.


Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=7998)

"Obituary," Boston Globe, June 29, 2004


http://www.nitrogeezers.com/Little%20Victories.htm (accessed 12/24/10)

http://peabodyhighschool1959.com/InMemoryOfPage.html  (accessed 12/24/10)



Joe Esolato

Born:  March 6, 1958

Died:  August 27, 2002


Age:  44

Full Name:  Joseph F. Esolato 


Drag Strip:  Cordova Dragway Park, Illinois

Event:  IHRA O'Reilly Auto Parts 49th World Series of Drag Racing

Accident Date:  August 23, 2002

Car:  dragster

Biographical:  A missing gas cap was the cause of fuel leaking under the tires.  This caused his tires to spin and the car went into a slide.  It tipped over onto its side and burst into flames.  He was transported to University Hospitals in Iowa City where he died four days later.


"Drag strip claims another life," AP Online, August 29, 2002

"Witnesses: Fuel was leaking from drag racer's car," Quad-City Times, August 30, 2002

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1811)

Social Security Death Index


Jett Field

Born:  May 8, 1959

Died:  July 8, 2003


Age:  44

Full Name:    Jett R. Field

Nickname:  "The Idaho Kid"

Drag Strip:  Spokane Raceway Park, Washington

Event:  exhibition run

Accident Date:  July 6, 2003

Car:  "Jet Force" jet funny car

Biographical:  He was traveling at about 250 MPH when his parachute malfunctioned at the end of the race track.  The car slid sideways and turned over and over about six times.  He was transported to Sacred Heart Medical Center.  He passed away two days later after his family opted to take him off life support.  He was a resident of Pocatello, Idaho.


"Race car driver dies of injuries," Spokane Spoksman-Review, July 9, 2003

"Veteran racer Jett Field killed in racing accident," National Dragster, July 18, 2003

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1647)

Social Security Death Index


http://jetcararchive.blogspot.com/ (accessed 12/24/10)

Jerry Gannon

Born:  January 5, 1952

Died:  June 2, 2002

Buried:  Junior Furnace Cemetery, Junior Furnace, Ohio

Age:  50

Full Name:  Jerry R. Gannon


Drag Strip:  Atlanta Dragway, Commerce, Georgia

Event:  exhibition run at Super Chevy race

Accident Date:  June 2, 2002

Car:  Roger Gustin's "Workmat Pro" 2002 Chevrolet Camaro jet funny car

Biographical:  In the course of making an exhibition run against Al Hanna, his car suddenly veered left, hit a wall, spun around, and hit the opposite side wall before  catching fire.  While racing to put out the fire, the fire crew began playing out the hose, but unfortunately the hose got lodged under the wheel of an ambulance.  The hose snapped and all the foam retardant spilled out on the race track.  The jet car continued burning for more than ten minutes. Witnesses reported that it had been announced prior to an earlier test pass that the chassis may have been cracked prior to the run.  He was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta where he died, with burns covering most of his body.  He lived in Franklin Furnace, Ohio, and was survived by his wife, Shonnie, and family. He garnered "Rookie of the Year" honors in 1993 by Jet Pro, the jet car racing sanctioning body.  He had the most wins in the jet car ranks during his career.


"Drag racer dies day after crash," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 3, 2002

"Drag racer dies in race," Cincinnati Post, June 3, 2002

"Drag racer dies in racing accident," Beaver County Times, June 2, 2002

"Drag racer killed in crash," Lakeland Ledger, June 3, 2002

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1642)

Find a Grave website (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=gannon&GSbyrel=in&GSdy=2002&GSdyrel=in&GSob=n&GRid=27672556&)


ExtremeGarage.com (http://extremegarage.com/dragracing_nhra/news/060402_03.htm)

ProModifieds.us  (http://www.promodifieds.us/forums/showthread.php?t=290)


Find a Grave website (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=gannon&GSbyrel=in&GSdy=2002&GSdyrel=in&GSob=n&GRid=27672556&)

Clyde Gendusa

Born:  December 12, 1946

Died:  August 30, 2003

Buried:  Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Frankfort, Illinois

Age:  56

Full Name:  Clyde M. Gendusa


Drag Strip:  Great Lakes Drag-a-Way, Union Grove, Wisconsin

Event:  practice test-and-tune

Accident Date:  August 30, 2003

Car:  modified Super Stock Chevrolet Camaro

Biographical:  He lost control of his car when it was traveling at a speed of 154 MPH.  Just after crossing the finish line, his back end began to wobble back and forth.  His parachute never deployed.  He smashed into the guard rail, flipped end over end several times, and struck a light pole.  After the crash, investigators discovered a hole in the engine block which may have had a bearing on causing the crash.  He suffered multiple injuries and was transported to Aurora Medical Center in Kenosha where he was later pronounced dead.  He was a resident of Frankfort, Illinois, and was survived by his wife, Josephine.



"Suburban driver killed at Wis. drag racing track," Chicago Sun-Times, September 2, 2003

Social Security Death Index

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1632)

"Racer, 57 killed at Union Grove track," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, September 1, 2003

"Illinois man dies while drag racing," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, September 7, 2003

"Hole in engine contributed to fatal dragway wreck," Charlotte Observer, September 3, 2003


Find a Grave (photo courtesy of Darrell Holmquist)


Bill Gnegy

Born:  about 1959

Died:  May 11, 2000


Age:  41

Full Name:  William Clayton Gnegy, Jr.


Drag Strip:  Red River Raceway, Shreveport, Louisiana

Event:  exhibition

Accident Date:  May 7, 2000

Car:  "Star Fighter" J-85 GE jet dragster

Biographical:  Just after clocking 298 MPH, he crashed just past the finish line.  His dragster hit the retaining wall, flipped, and caught fire.  He was from Colleyville, Texas.  He died four days after the crash.


Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=3122)

http://www.northernthunder.com/whatsnew051700.html  (accessed 12/24/10)

Texas Death Index (Ancestry.com)


Steve Grebeck

Born:  March 26, 1965

Died:  March 3, 2002

Buried:  Parkview Memorial Cemetery, Livonia, Michigan

Age:  36

Full Name:  Steven Grant Grebeck 


Drag Strip:  Orlando Speed World, Bithlo, Florida

Event:  Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords Magazine Spring Break Shootout

Accident Date:  March 3, 2002

Car:  Precision Turbo Pro 5.0 Ford Mustang

Biographical:  He lost control of his car and veered to the left into the lane of his competitor, Bill Rimmer.  He was hit by the other car on the driver side, flipped, and burst into flames.  He was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.  He had his own speed shop in Walled Lake, Michigan.  His maroon Mustang was featured in the Kid Rock video "Forever."  He held the national record in his class.



"Drag racer killed," Tampa Tribune, March 4, 2002

"Drag Racer Killed in Orlando Wreck," Associated Press Online, March 4, 2002

"Drag racer killed in Florida crash," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 5, 2002

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1629)

Find a Grave


Competition Plus: Drag Racing's Internet Magazine (http://www.competitionplus.com/2004_09_15/grebeck.html)

Popular Hot Rodding Magazine (http://www.popularhotrodding.com/events/0211phr_ford_mustang_pro_5/index.html) 



Wayne Green

Born:  March 15, 1940

Died:  April 7, 2001

Buried:  Floral Hills Cemetery, Kansas City, Missouri

Age:  61

Full Name:  Norvin Wayne Green


Drag Strip:  Kansas City International Raceway, Missouri


Accident Date:  April 7, 2001

Car:  dragster

Biographical:  He rolled his new car at the end of the track.  He was trapped in the vehicle and without jaws of life at the race track, rescue personnel couldn't extract him before he died.  Friends later raised $10,000 to purchase jaws of life and donated it to the race track.  He owned an excavating company.  He was from Lee's Summit, Missouri, and was survived by his wife, Susan, and two daughters.


Kevin Kabrick, e-mail to site administrator, Oct. 30, 2011

"Obituaries," Kansas City Star, Apr. 10, 2001


Rowland Haddock

Born:  November 16, 1971

Died:  June 11, 2004

Buried:  Haddock Cemetery, Nassau County, Florida

Age:  32

Full Name:  Rowland Grady Haddock, Jr.

Nickname: Peanut

Drag Strip:  Jax Raceways, Jacksonville, Florida

Event:  NHRA E.T. Summit Bracket Series

Accident Date:  June 11, 2004

Car:  Super Pro 1941 Willys

Biographical:  About 100 yards past the finish line on the 1/8th mile drag strip, he lost control of his vehicle on a single run.  He swerved and flipped over a guard rail.   It took about ten minutes to free him from the car which was upside down.  He was transported to Shands Jacksonville Hospital where he was pronounced dead.  He lived in Hilliard, Florida, and was survived by his wife, Shannon.


"Drag racer dies after crash in Jacksonville," USA Today, June 12, 2004

http://www.nhra.net/2004/news/Junenotebook.html  (accessed 12/24/10)

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=7997)


Find a Grave


Chris Hampson

Born: May 5, 1957

Died:  May 29, 2000


Age: 47

Full Name:  Christopher Peter Hampson, II


Drag Strip:  Santa Pod Raceway, England

Event:  FIM "Main Event"

Accident Date:  May 29, 2000

Car:  T/F motorcycle

Biographical:  Astride Phil Bainbridge's T/F Puma, Hampson was competing against Ian King.  Taking the win, Hampson seemed to have been tossed in front of King in the latter's lane after the finish line by a gust of wind.  King was just able to avoid hitting him, but Hampson hit the armco barrier wall hard and was thrown from the bike.  He died from his injuries while being transported to the hospital. He was survived by his wife and children.



"Hampson dies in top fuel accident," DragBike.com, Dec. 17, 2004

http://www.eurodragster.com/news/chris_hampson_tribute.htm   (accessed 6/26/2012)

Mark Ringer, e-mail communication to site administrator, June 25, 2012

England and Wales Death Index:  Christopher Peter Hampson, b. May 5, 1957, death registered Sep. 2000 in Kettering, Northamptonshire, age 43 


"Hampson dies in top fuel accident," DragBike.com, Dec. 17, 2004




John Horton

Born:  March 31, 1974

Died:  September 19, 2004

Buried:  Lake Township Cemetery, Walbridge, Ohio

Age:  30

Full Name:  John A. Horton


Drag Strip:  Milan Dragway, Michigan

Event:  IHRA Frostbite Nationals

Accident Date:  September 19, 2004

Car:  T/F dragster

Biographical:  When the rear wheels of his car locked up, it caused his dragster to spin.  He hit the retaining wall, caught fire, and flipped several times.  He was traveling about 160 MPH when the wheels locked up 66 feet from the finish line.  He lived in Walbridge, Ohio. He had finished in eleventh place in the IHRA T/F points standings in 2003.


"Ohio drag racer killed at Milan," Detroit Free Press, September 21, 2004

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=2681)


Ramon Jimenez

Born:  June 21, 1968

Died:  April 18, 2004

Buried:  Rose Hill Cemetery, Kissimmee, Florida

Age:  35

Full Name:  Ramon L. Jimenez


Drag Strip:  Lakeland Drag Strip,  North Lakeland, Florida


Accident Date:  April 18, 2004

Car:  Suzuki 1300 Hayabusa motorcycle

Biographical:  He was traveling about 75 MPH when he lost control of his bike and crashed into a wall at the 1/8th-mile track.  He was thrown almost 100 feet and died of head injuries at the scene.  He lost control when his bike went into a wheelstand when he was shifting gears.  He was from Kissimmee, Florida.


"Cyclist killed during drag race," Lakeland Ledger, April 19, 2004

"Motorcyclist dies during race," Gainesville Sun, April 20, 2004

Social Security Death Index (Ramon L. Jimenez, born June 21, 1968, died Apr. 18, 2004, SS# issued in Puerto Rico)


Pat Knight

Born:  February 28, 1958

Died:  June 17, 2001


Age:  43

Full Name:  Patrick Jay Knight


Drag Strip:  Rock Falls Raceway, near  Caryville, Wisconsin

Event:  warm-up certification run

Accident Date:  June 17, 2001

Car:  dragster

Biographical:  He was killed when he crashed his dragster while trying to become certified.  He was traveling at an estimated 150 MPH.  He was from Eagan, Minnesota.


Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=3515)

"Race car driver dies in crash before event," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 19, 2001.


Ian Landies

Born:  July 24, 1950

Died:  August 27, 2000

Buried:  Chardon Village Cemetery, Ohio

Age:  50

Full Name:  Ian Gregory Landies


Drag Strip:  Cecil County Dragway, Rising Sun, Maryland


Accident Date:  August 27, 2000

Car:  1934 Chevrolet A/SR

Biographical:  He had just completed his run in eliminations when his car suddenly veered out of control and crossed the center line into the other lane.  He struck and slid down the guard rail and hit a telephone pole.  His roll cage was ripped off the vehicle.  He had just set a national record of 166 MPH and 8 seconds in the A/SR class two weeks before.  He had been drag racing for 35 years.  He owned a crane operating company in Chardon, Ohio, where he was active in community affairs.  He lived in Munson Township, Ohio, and was survived by his wife, two sons, and a daughter.


"Ian Gregory Landies, 50, top drag racer," Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 30, 2000

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=4307)


http://www.gilchristbnw.com/GPC/PS-TSEGallery.html (accessed 7/30/10)

Bill Carrell, e-mail to site administrator, July 30, 2010

http://www.lfrent.com/dedication.htm  (accessed 8/1/10)

Find a Grave website (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=55707217) 



John Lingenfelter

Born:  October 6, 1945

Died:  December 25, 2003

Buried:  Decatur Cemetery, Indiana

Age:  58

Full Name:  John Earl Lingenfelter


Drag Strip:  Pomona Raceway, Pomona, California

Event:  Mazda NHRA Sport Compact World Finals

Accident Date:  October 27, 2002

Car:  Ecotec-powered Chevy Cavalier "Summit"

Biographical:  He won 13 NHRA national event titles - nine in Comp, three in Super Stock, and one in Pro Stock Truck - and routinely set national records, but his powerplants were responsible for many more trophies and records. Over the course of a career that spanned more than four decades, Lingenfelter won in everything from Super Stock and Comp door cars to econo dragsters, Pro Stock Trucks, and NHRA Summit Sport Compact Drag Racing Series entries. He was the first Comp driver to break the six-second quarter-mile barrier, and in 2002, upon joining the NHRA Summit Sport Compact Drag Racing Series, he quickly became a force, winning one event and eventually piloting his Summit Racing-backed, Ecotec-powered Chevy Cavalier to the sport's first six-second pass by a four cylinder-powered machine at that year's Mazda NHRA Sport Compact World Finals in Pomona. It was in that same car that Lingenfelter's glorious racing career ended a day after breaking the barrier. While racing R.J. Simrock in the semifinals of the October event, Lingenfelter lost control of his Cavalier and crashed heavily. He lapsed into a coma during surgery in November 2002 and remained in a semi-comatose state until his death Dec. 25, 2003, at Adams County Memorial Hospital in Decatur, Ind. . . . [He] began racing his Chevy-powered '4O Ford as a teenager in the early 1960s and soon graduated to a W30-equipped '68 Olds. The former high school wrestler studied mechanical engineering at Pennsylvania State University and drafting before going to work in the engine lab at International Harvester, where he remained until 1973.  (National Dragster, January 30, 2004)



Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1045)

National Dragster, January 30, 2004 


Find a Grave website (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Lingenfelter&GSiman=1&GScid=85219&GRid=9505092& 



Doug Livingston

Born:  September 15, 1970

Died:  April 29, 2001

Buried:  Arcola Township Cemetery, Illinois

Age:  30

Full Name:   Douglas Lee Livingston


Drag Strip:  Coles County Drag Strip, Charleston, Illinois


Accident Date:  April 29, 2001

Car:  motorcycle

Biographical:  While racing his motorcycle, he slammed into the guardrail, flipped over the handlebars, and landed below the railing. He was transported to Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center where he was pronounced dead.


"St. Joseph man killed at Coles County drag strip," Mattoon Journal Gazette, May 2, 2001

U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index

Social Security Death Index


Scotty Matthews

Born:  April 28, 1970

Died:  February 20, 2000

Buried: Floral Haven Memorial Gardens, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Age:  29

Full Name:   Scotty Don Matthews


Drag Strip:  Tulsa International Raceway, Oklahoma


Accident Date:  February 20, 2000

Car:  Chevrolet Nova

Biographical:  He was driving the car of a friend. His car left the race track, flipped several times, hit a ditch, and burst into flames.  He was thrown from the car and pronounced dead at the scene.  He lived in Inola, Oklahoma.


"Drag racer killed," Tulsa World, February 21, 2000

"Death at the track, 1997-2000," Charlotte Observer, November 11, 2001

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=2363) 


Find a Grave

Jack O'Dell

Born:  August 19, 1941

Died:  August 23, 2003

Buried:  Dakota City Cemetery, South Sioux City, Nebraska

Age:  62

Full Name:  Jack Ellis O'Dell


Drag Strip:  Norwalk Raceway Park, Ohio

Event:  IHRA Pro Modified World Nationals

Accident Date:  August 21, 2003

Car: 1970 Chevelle Pro Mod

Biographical:  Just after making a qualifying run, O'Dell collapsed after getting out of his car.  He was transported to Fisher-Titus Hospital in Norwalk, Ohio.  He was from South Sioux City, Nebraska, and was survived by his wife, Barbara. He held the IHRA speed record (205.58 MPH) for Pro Mods at the time of his death. He raced as a team with his son, Kevin, who drove a 1953 Studebaker Pro Mod.


Find a Grave website (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=o'dell&GSby=1941&GSbyrel=in&GSdyrel=in&GSob=n&GRid=8233588&)

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=2191)

"Obituary," Sioux City Journal, Aug. 2003


Greg Olhava

Born:  May 24, 1953

Died:  October 14, 2000

Buried:  All Saints Cemetery, Des Plaines, Illinois

Age:  47

Full Name:   Gregory A. Olhava


Drag Strip:  Indianapolis Raceway Park, Clermont, Indiana


Accident Date:  October 14, 2000

Car:  Super Comp dragster

Biographical:  He was testing his dragster's brakes in the pit area when the car suddenly accelerated, crashed, and rolled over.  He had been involved in drag racing for twenty years.  He resided in Paddock Lake, Wisconsin, and was survived by his wife, Allene, four children, his parents, and three brothers.  His occupation was data processing consultant.


Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=3552)

"Obituaries," Chicago Daily Herald Suburban, Oct. 17, 2000

Social Security Death Index


Billion Graves website


Phillip Owens

Born:  November 4, 1968

Died:  August 23, 2003

Buried:  Antioch Baptist Church Cemetery, Fyffe, Alabama

Age: 33

Full Name:  Phillip Dewayne Owens


Drag Strip:  Sand Mountain Dragway, Section, Alabama


Accident Date:  August 23, 2003

Car:  dragster

Biographical:  When the air scoop on his engine became loose, it jammed into the throttle linkage.  This prevented him from slowing the car down and he ran into a ravine at a speed of about 180 MPH.  He was killed upon impact.  He had owned the 1/8th-mile drag strip for over four years. He lived in Fyffe, Alabama.


Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1634)

"Race track owner dies," Athens News Courier, Aug. 27, 2003


Frank Quitter

Born: September 26, 1961

Died: August 28, 2004

Buried: Fort Logan National Cemetery, Denver, Colorado

Age: 42

Full Name:  Frank J. Quitter


Drag Strip:  Bandimere Speedway, near Morrison, Colorado


Accident Date:  August 25, 2004

Car:  pro stock motorcycle

Biographical: He failed to brake at the end of his run, jolted through the sand trap, and slammed into the safety net. He was conscious and seemed alright, but track officials persuaded him to go to the hospital as a precaution. He walked to the ambulance, so witnesses thought he was alright, but he died at the hospital from a ruptured liver. He was from Thornton, Colorado.


"Frank Quitter Loved Racing, Loved Fixing Motorcycles," Rocky Mountain News, Sep. 4, 2004.

Greg _____, email communication to site administrator, Oct. 9, 2014


John Reynolds

Born:  December 13, 1953

Died:  August 16, 2003

Buried: cremation

Age:  49

Full Name:   John Irvin Reynolds


Drag Strip:  Bandimere Speedway, near Morrison, Colorado

Event:  exhibition run at Super Chevy Show

Accident Date:  August 16, 2003

Car:  "Nitrous Express" Outlaw Pro Mod 1991 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1

Biographical:  He had crossed the finish line and was traveling at a speed estimated at between 160 and 180 MPH.  His parachute may have been sucked under the car and wound around the axle, preventing operation of the brakes.  He slammed into two net barriers at the end of the race track.  The supercharger was torn off its mounting on this impact and crashed through the car's windshield.  This caused fatal head injuries.  He was from Loveland, Colorado, and was survived by his wife and four children.


"Drag racer killed after brakes, parachute apparently fail," Associated Press State & Local Wire, August 18, 2003

"Loveland racer killed in accident at Bandimere," Rocky Mountain News, August 18, 2003


Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=4505) 


Don Rhyne

Born:  October 26, 1948

Died:  March 28, 2003


Age: 54

Full Name:  Donald R. Rhyne


Drag Strip:  Southwestern International Raceway, Tucson, Arizona

Event:  NHRA Lucas Oil Sportsman Division 6 race

Accident Date:  March 27, 2003

Car:   Super Gas 1963 Chevrolet Corvette

Biographical:  His vehicle went off the end of the track and flipped.  He was transported to Tucson Medical Center where he died the next day.  He was a resident of Boring, Oregon.


"Another accident saddens mood at drag strip," Arizona Daily Star, March 31, 2003

Social Security Death Index

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=1615) 


Don Rhyne Memorial  (www.horsepowerheaven.com/donrhyne/donrhyne.html)


Greg Russakis

Born:  October 2, 1969

Died:  February 8, 2001

Buried:  Riverview Memorial Park, Fort Pierce, Florida

Age:  31

Full Name:   Gregory James Russakis


Drag Strip:  Moroso Motorsports Park, West Palm Beach, Florida


Accident Date:  February 8, 2001

Car:  1968 Chevrolet Camaro

Biographical:  When his car hit some fluid on the race track, it skidded off the drag strip and overturned many times.  He lived in Fort Pierce, Florida, and was survived by a wife and son.


"Fort Pierce citrus grower's son dies in drag-strip crash," Palm Beach Post, February 9,  2001

"Race car driver killed in accident," South Florida Sun-Sentinel, February 9, 2001

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=4301)

"Profiles of 260 racing death victims," Charlotte Observer, November 9, 2001

Find a Grave website (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=russakis&GSfn=greg&GSbyrel=in&GSdyrel=in&GSob=n&GRid=5208084&)


Find a Grave website (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=russakis&GSfn=greg&GSbyrel=in&GSdyrel=in&GSob=n&GRid=5208084&)



Darrell Russell

Born:  September 20, 1968

Died:  June 27, 2004

Buried:  Klein Memorial Park, Tomball, Texas

Age:  35

Full Name:    Darrell James Russell


Drag Strip:  Gateway International Raceway, Madison, Illinois

Event:  NHRA Sears Craftsman Nationals

Accident Date:  June 27, 2004

Car:  Joe Amato T/F dragster

Biographical:  His dragster went out of control traveling at about 300 MPH and crashed just past the finish line during the second round of eliminations.  After extinguishing the fire, safety officials extracted him from his dragster. He was transported by helicopter to St. Louis Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.  He had been clocked at 322.73 MPH on the run.  Debris from an exploding rear tire that entered the driver cockpit caused his death.  NHRA mandated that all T/F cars use an improved tire that was released by Goodyear immediately after Russell's death and a shield for the roll cage.  He had been the event's top qualifier and was 4th in the T/F point standings at the time.  He debuted in T/F in 2001 and became the third driver in NHRA history to win a T/F national event in his first professional start.  He garnered 2001 NHRA Rookie of the Year honors.  During his four-year T/F career he was a six-time national event winner.  He was a successful top alcohol driver for several years before entering the professional ranks.  He was from Hockley, Texas.



"Drag racer killed in crash," Charlotte Observer, June 28, 2004

"NHRA driver dies in dragster accident," NBC Sports, June 27, 2004 (http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/5311551/)

Motorsport.com website  (http://www.motorsport.com/news/article.asp?ID=158267&FS=OBITUARIES)


FastMachines.com website  (http://www.fastmachines.com/nhra/darrell-russell-dies-at-end-of-run-at-gateway/)

CompetitionPlus: Drag Racing's Internet Magazine  (http://www.competitionplus.com/03_25_2004/nhra_gatornationals.html)

Find a Grave



Bill Sanders

Born:  May 28, 1957

Died:  May 29, 2004

Buried:  Hamlet Baptist Church Cemetery, Benton, Kentucky

Age:  47

Full Name:  William Richard Sanders, Jr.


Drag Strip:  Beech Bend Raceway Park, Bowling Green, Kentucky

Event:  NHRA Sportsnational Open

Accident Date:  May 29, 2004

Car:  Dodge Viper

Biographical:  He was making a single run in his Dodge Viper during Super Gas qualifying for the special NHRA Division 3 sportsman event when his car went out of control near the finish line. He was transported to Bowling Green Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. He resided in Benton, Kentucky, and was survived by his wife, Patty.


Jimmie Johnson, e-mail communication to site administrator, Mar. 26, 2018

"Super Gas driver fatally injured at NHRA Sportsnational Open in Kentucky," Drag Race Results.com, 5/29/2004


Ron Scippo

Born:  October 20, 1954

Died:  September 14, 2003

Buried:  St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Auburn, New York

Age:  48

Full Name:  Ronald A. Scippo


Drag Strip:  ESTA Safety Park Dragstrip, Bridgeport, New York

Event:  ET Series

Accident Date:  September 14, 2003

Car:  dragster

Biographical:  He was speeding at 158 MPH in a time trial when the wheels on his rear-engine dragster locked up shortly after crossing the finish line.  He flipped multiple times.  He was transported to University Hospital in Syracuse where he died from multiple injuries that night.  He was a resident of Kirkville, New York, and worked for New Venture Gear as a journeyman repairman.


"Drag racer died doing what he loved," Syracuse Post-Standard, September 18, 2003

"Obituary," Syracuse Post-Standard, September 17, 2003

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=3120)


Gerald Shaw

Born:  August 4, 1968

Died:  March 5, 2000

Buried:  Walker Cemetery, Sumter, South Carolina

Age:  31

Full Name:  Gerald Anthony Shaw

Nickname:  Shaw Dawg

Drag Strip:  Clarendon County Dragstrip, South Carolina


Accident Date:  March 5, 2000

Car:  motorcycle

Biographical:  He died from an accident at the 1/8th-mile drag strip. Witnesses said he looked over his left shoulder and then hit the guardrail and was thrown from his bike. He was transported to Clarendon Memorial Hospital where he died Sunday night. He lived in Sumter and worked at Omni Chemical Company.


Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=3279)

Find a Grave


Hubert Sinclair


Died: March 23, 2003


Age: 34

Full Name: Hubert Sinclair, Jr.


Drag Strip:  Currie Dragstrip, St. Pauls, North Carolina


Accident Date:  March 23, 2003

Car:  2000 Yamaha motorcycle

Biographical: He died after losing control of his motorcycle while traveling about 110 MPH. He ran off the right side of the track and struck a chain link fence.  He resided in Pembroke, North Carolina.


"Racing accident kills man," The Robesonian, Mar. 2003.


Michael Trent

Born:  October 3, 1951

Died:  April 14, 2001

Buried:  Duck Creek Church Cemetery, Duck Creek, Tennessee

Age:  49

Full Name:  Michael W. Trent


Drag Strip:  Cherokee Raceway Park, Rogersville, Tennessee


Accident Date:  April 14, 2001

Car:  Ford Mustang

Biographical:  He was killed when he lost control of his vehicle after crossing the finish line of the 1/8th mile track and crashed.  His vehicle rolled over several times in a field.  He was a resident of Sneedville, Tennessee.


"7 more who died," Charlotte Observer, November 18, 2001

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=4980)

Find a Grave website (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=trent&GSfn=michael&GSbyrel=in&GSdyrel=in&GSob=n&GRid=35016606&)


Stoley Waiters

Born:  September 7, 1948

Died:  September 8, 2002

Buried:  Willow Grove Cemetery, Sumter County, South Carolina

Age:  54

Full Name:  Stoley J. Waiters, Jr. 

Nickname:  "Coolie"

Drag Strip:  Clarendon County Dragstrip, South Carolina


Accident Date:  September 2002

Car:  1968 Chevrolet Nova

Biographical:  When he started to turn left near the end of his run on the 1/8th-mile drag strip, his car flipped on its side.  The car continued to flip side over side before coming to rest in a wooded area away from the concrete track.  He was thrown from the car and pronounced dead at the scene.  He was from Horatio, South Carolina.


"Racer wonders if death could have been prevented," The Item, September 11, 2002

Motorsport Memorial website


Todd Wilkes

Born:  1971

Died:  February 25, 2001

Buried:  Clarence Lawn Cemetery, Grafton, New South Wales, Australia

Age:  29

Full Name:  Todd Matthew Wilkes

Nickname:  "Judge"

Drag Strip:  Eastern Creek Raceway, Sydney, Australia

Event:  Australian Racing Drivers Club "Terminal Velocity" race

Accident Date:  February 25, 2001

Car:  Giocattolo Build No. 007 (only 15 cars ever produced)

Biographical:  Traveling at a speed estimated at more than 125 MPH, he tried to brake but lost control of the vehicle.  His limited edition sports car crashed through some barriers, became airborne, then hit a wall and burst into flames.  He had multiple traumatic injuries and burns and was in cardiac arrest at the scene.  He was transported to Blacktown Hospital where he was pronounced dead.  He was from Windsor, Australia.  Four of the officials at the race track were later brought up on manslaughter charges.



"Drag racer killed in horror speed crash," Newcastle Herald, February 26, 2001

"Car racing officials charged," The Advertiser, April 10, 2001 

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=6381) 


Tim's Alfa Romeo Page (http://alfasud.alfisti.net/gioe.html)



This is one of the fifteen Giocattolo cars built between 1986 and 1989 in Australia. 

Billy Williams

Born:  April 7, 1945

Died:  April 14, 2008


Age:  63

Full Name:  William Edward Williams

Nickname:  "Munchkin"

Drag Strip:  Rockingham Dragway, North Carolina


Accident Date:  March 22, 2002

Car:  2002 Pontiac Firebird T/AFC

Biographical:  When he experienced engine failure, he crashed his funny car hard into the guard rail.  He remained in the hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, for over six years until his death with multiple fractures and head injuries.  He was survived by his wife and daughter.  He was a successful drag racer for many years.  He was the 1979 NHRA Pro Comp champion and won the U.S. Nationals in 1979 and 1980.  At various times he competed in Top Fuel, Nitro Funny Car, Top Alcohol Funny Car, and Top Alcohol Dragster.


"Billy Williams: 1945-2008," National Dragster, May 2, 2008 

Motorsport Memorial website (http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=7638)

"North Carolina racing deaths since 1990," newsobserver.com, Feb. 18, 2011

Social Security Death Index


speedzonemagazine.com (http://www.speedzonemagazine.com/zones/alkyzone/04alkyzone/04janalky/04jantop25tad.htm)


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