Fan dies after accident at drag race

A woman died Sunday 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 at Firebird

International Raceway when Antron Brown’s Matco Tools/U.S. Army

dragster went out of control on the strip and its left rear wheel

came off.

Alia Maisonet, a spokeswoman for the Gila River Indian

Community, said the woman was airlifted to a Phoenix-area hospital

for treatment and later died. Gila River emergency responders were

among the first to respond to the scene.

Maisonet said she didn’t know the victim’s name or hometown.

“The entire NHRA community is deeply saddened by today’s

incident and sends its thoughts and prayers to the woman’s family

and friends,” the association said in an e-mailed statement.

Franki Buckman, the track’s executive vice president, said

Firebird International Raceway also is deeply saddened by the

incident.

Brown was released by the track medical staff, but went to

Chandler Regional Hospital for further observation, according to a

statement put out by Don Schumacher Racing before the woman died.

The NHRA said Brown wasn’t injured.

The racing continued after the accident, and John Force

advanced to his second straight Funny Car final before the session

was postponed because of rain. Force, the 60-year-old star who

ended a 40-race winless streak last week with his record 127th

victory, will meet Jack Beckman on Monday.