NHRA’s Nightmare Season Continues: Mark Niver’s Crash is Third Fatality of 2010

NHRA’s Nightmare Season Continues: Mark Niver’s Crash is Third Fatality of 2010

Mark Niver, a 60-year-old native of Phoenix, AZ, died on Sunday when his Top Alcohol dragster crashed at Pacific Raceways in suburban Seattle during the final day of the NHRA Northwest Nationals.

According to the NHRA, the crash happened in the shutdown area, where Niver deployed his car’s parachutes to rapidly slow down after crossing the 1/4-mile finish line at over 260 mph. The NHRA’s website states that Niver’s parachutes opened but then became detached. The runaway dragster ran off the end of the drag strip and into a sand trap and then into a restraining net, but tragically the impact proved fatal.

The loss of Mark Niver is the third fatality of the season for the NHRA, Neal Parker, 58, of Millville, NJ, having lost his life in a very similar crash just 30 days earlier (June 11th) at Old Bridge Raceway Park when his Top Alcohol dragster crashed into a barrier and sand trip designed to slow runaway cars. In February, a spectator was killed at Firebird Raceway when the left rear tire flew off a Top Fuel dragster during a collision with the wall.

Given these tragic events and with speeds of Top Fuel dragsters exceeding 300 mph, there’s little question the NHRA will be investigating any and all ways to improve the safety of its sport. All forms of motorsport involve a level of risk to the drivers, but clearly longer shutdown and runoff areas are required for these top tier dragsters given the incredibly high speeds they are now achieving.

[Source: insideline.com]

  • Chad

    Second chute. Longer run-off. Deeper sand in run-off. And dare I say it…slower speeds? Speed is only one part of the drag racing formula, and the other forms of drag racing seem to live on despite their slower speeds.

  • Bob Wilson

    Mark did have two chutes deployed, but they immediately detached from their anchor points. He crossed the finish line at 271.79 mph and without the chutes to slow him, the fairly long and slightly uphill shutdown at Pacific Raceways just wasn’t long enough to slow the car before it hit the sand trap and net. The impact with the net didn’t appear to happen at a very high speed – less than 100 mph – but tragically it did prove fatal. May you rest in peace, Mark.

  • Ed Shields

    Mark is a very good driver the crash really seemed like he was going to be fine when he hit the sand trap he was going less than 100 mph this is a very sad accident that he lost his life over many have hit the trap faster than than and walked away this isn’t easy for any fan to see and it really hurts the sport when a life taken that really he should have walked away from my heart goes out to his family he will be missed by many fans.