Top Fuel drag racer Antron Brown escaped uninjured from a violent, fiery crash during Sunday's NHRA Arizona Nationals, but debris from his car struck and killed a spectator.
The woman was struck by the left rear tire and wheel of Brown's dragster, according to reports. She was transported by helicopter to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead. She was not identified.
A statement published on the NHRA's Web site said: "NHRA 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."
The incident occurred during a first-round elimination run between Brown and Troy Buff at Firebird International Raceway. According to several reports, it is believed to be the first spectator fatality at an NHRA national event since the 1970s.
Top Fuel dragsters reach speeds in excess of 300 mph. Since 2008, when driver Scott Kalitta was killed in a crash, the NHRA has shortened the race distance from the traditional quarter-mile to 1,000 feet.
Brown lost control of his car just after it left the starting line. It veered from the right lane across the track, rolling over onto its right side as it struck a concrete barrier on the left side of the raceway.