Tragedy struck the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird International Raceway Sunday when a woman was struck by a detached tire. The woman, whose identity was not released, was pronounced dead at Good Samaritan Hospital this evening. The tire became detached from Antron Brown's dragster following an incident during the first round of eliminations. Brown was not injured.
In a statement, the NHRA said that it is investigating the incident. "The entire NHRA community is deeply saddened by today's incident and sends its thoughts and prayers to the woman's family and friends."
NHRA icon John Force continued his early season resurgence by reaching his second straight final round before racing was postponed by rain. Weather delays moved racing into the early evening and deteriorating conditions forced the postponement. Racing will resume Monday at 10 a.m. MT with finals in Top Fuel and Funny Car and quarterfinals in Pro Stock.
Force, who ended a 40-race winless streak with his NHRA-record 127th career win last weekend at the season-opening Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals, will meet Jack Beckman in the Funny Car Final.
Force, who has won an NHRA-record 14 championships, is the first driver to surpass 200 points and he is assured of remaining in first place when the NHRA Full Throttle Series moves to Gainesville March 11-14 for the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals.
Another resurgent driver, Doug Kalitta, will meet Cory McClenathan in the Top Fuel final. Kalitta, who has five top-three points finishes but hasn't finished higher than eighth in the last three seasons, is in his second straight final round to start the 2010 season after his runner-up finish at the Winternationals.
The Pro Stock class was only able to complete one round Sunday and they will resume action in the quarterfinals on Monday. Among the more intriguing match-ups will be defending champion Mike Edwards against three-time champion Greg Anderson – a rematch of the season-opening final round won by Edwards.