Racer Katarina “Kat” Moller, 24, died from injuries sustained in a jet dragster crash at Sebring International Raceway Thursday night, reports Autoweek. Moller was a well-liked short track and drag racer, and this was her fifth season racing with the Larsen Motorsports drag racing team.
In addition to being a famous endurance race track, Sebring hosts regular drag racing nights on a temporary 1/8-mile course set up on the track’s main straight. Moller’s jet dragster, which is capable of speeds exceeding 300 miles per hour, was there to make exhibition runs during Sebring’s drag night this week.
Eyewitness Mark Silver explained to DragZine that Moller’s parachute failed to deploy at the end of her first exhibition run:
She did her normal staging process, then made a full pass. At the 1/8-mile I did see what looked like a small parachute, which is the one that pulls out to deploy the main chute. But there was no main chute. After crossing the cones, I saw her swerve all the way into the right lane, then she appeared to hit the right lane wall and kept going. All of the safety personnel and the ambulance went down to the end of the track.
DragZine highlights that reports of Moller hitting the wall at the end of her run remain unconfirmed at the time of this writing. The Highland County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the cause of Moller’s crash and has asked any spectators at the event who recorded Moller’s run to call the Criminal Investigation Unit at (863) 402-7250.
Fellow racers have taken to social media to show their love and support of Moller.
???????????? In 2015 I drag raced alongside Kat Moller. Kat positively impacted SO MANY young girls at the track. A sweetheart and she was like a little sister. She was driving “The American Dream” jet dragster – a name so fitting a girl that had a huge passion for racing…. continued.. pic.twitter.com/NzURL8PErf
— Shea Holbrook (@SheaRacing) November 16, 2018
— #NHRA (@NHRA) November 16, 2018
Moller grew up around drag racing and started racing Junior Dragsters at the age of 11, and eventually progressed into racing jet dragsters with Larsen Motorsports in 2013. This year, she was pursuing a master’s degree in engineering from Florida Tech.
“We knew Kat well and were big fans of her personality and her driving skill,” said Sebring president and general manager Wayne Estes said in a statement released by the track. “Sebring International Raceway and the entire racing community are heartbroken.”