R.I.P. Katarina Moller

R.I.P. Katarina Moller

slugbelchslugbelch Senior Member
edited November 2018 in General discussion
From Sebring International Raceway FB:
SEBRING, Fla. (Nov. 15, 2018) – Katarina Moller, 24, of Sarasota, Fla., passed away as a result of an accident during an exhibition run in a jet dragster at Sebring International Raceway Thursday night.

Moller was making her first run in the car at Sebring’s regular drag racing event.

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https://www.facebook.com/markjrebilasphotography/posts/2168303316522794?__xts__

Comments

  • luxexpressluxexpress Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    tragic news :( RIP Kat
  • TwostepTwostep Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    I haven't heard of her but I'm saddened by the loss of this 24 year old who crashed last night, suffering fatal injuries at Sebring International Dragway.

    RIP; Prayers for the family.

    https://www.foxnews.com/auto/24-year-old-drag-racer-kat-moller-killed-in-jet-car-crash
  • Yvonne*Yvonne* Super Moderator
    edited November 2018
    Very sad news. :(
  • HEMI_guyHEMI_guy Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    Isn't this the second jet car death in the past year at a track that's not a drag strip?

    So young. Such a shame.
  • Tim CharletTim Charlet Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    HEMI_guy wrote: »
    Isn't this the second jet car death in the past year at a track that's not a drag strip?

    So young. Such a shame.

    So - a couple of facts.

    Yes - this, along with Doug Rose's "Crash" occurred at facilities that are not sanctioned drag strips (either by NHRA or IHRA). Doug Rose's issue was at a circle track - and this accident was at Sebring's road course. In Doug's incident, he wasn't making a "RUN" - but putting on a flame show while 'idling' the car around the track. He had a heart attack, lost control of the car, which IDLED into the wall. He was conscious when they got him out of the car, then suffered a massive heart attack after the accident - which caused his death.

    In Kat's instance, it was held at Sebring. They have a straight away that's about 1/2 mile length. They occasionally set up a "drag strip" (at 660' from the starting line to the finish). This track has a "Christmas tree" but to my knowledge (and this SHOULD BE INVESTIGATED) did NOT have a FOAM BLOCK reflector in the center lane. Here is why this is important.

    According to the police report (as reported by some news outlets), she was struck in the helmet by a piece of debris from the timing system at the finish line. The foam block was designed to break apart upon being hit, to avoid causing injury to the driver in an open cockpit vehicle (like the Jet Car she was driving).

    I've reviewed several pictures and video of previous races at Sebring, and I can't find a single "TIMING BLOCK". Instead, I've seen a few plastic cones, and even what appears to be a white painted box (either metal or wood) in the center lane.

    Here is a video from the starting line of her accident. It cuts off shortly after she appears to cross the center line.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StMhldjWby8

    You'll clearly see the engine shut off - and chutes out about 7 sec into the video. At that point, you'll see some 'dirt or smoke' and a large piece of something "white" fly into the air. So the question that really needs to be asked is what exactly did she hit in the center of the track? Was it solid metal, wood, hard plastic - or was it indeed a foam block? In this case, those details matter...
  • luxexpressluxexpress Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    perhaps a canopy would have helped in this case?
  • Tim CharletTim Charlet Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    luxexpress wrote: »
    perhaps a canopy would have helped in this case?

    This type of fatality definitely adds to the debate...
  • Yvonne*Yvonne* Super Moderator
    edited November 2018
    This type of fatality definitely adds to the debate...

    I personally see no valid argument against a canopy on a jet car. They have them on every single airplane, jet and land speed jet cars after all.
  • Tim CharletTim Charlet Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    Yvonne* wrote: »
    I personally see no valid argument against a canopy on a jet car. They have them on every single airplane, jet and land speed jet cars after all.

    I agree 100% that adding a canopy on a Jet Dragster is a smart and safe idea. In fact, this is a leading reason why my partner David Douthit has chosen to build a 2nd Nostalgia Jet Funny Car as opposed to repairing their damaged Jet Dragster caused by a truck slamming into their rig last summer. Smaller tracks (where the majority of Jet Cars are booked for shows) are notorious for having lots of rocks and debris that pelt drivers as they head down the track (especially in the shutdown area).

    However, the cost associated with building an approved canopy is the number one argument for making them mandated for a Jet Dragster. With the exception of a few teams (such as Larson's, Hanna, and perhaps Franco's Lucas Oil jets) the majority of Jet Car owners race on a very tight operating budget. While I agree that safety should be the number one consideration and that adding a canopy would be a great idea, it also would cost a significant amount of money and arguably shut down the majority of jet dragsters out there today.

    Just some food for thought.
  • HEMI_guyHEMI_guy Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    luxexpress wrote: »
    perhaps a canopy would have helped in this case?

    What would have helped in this case would to NOT have had a plywood or metal BOX out on the track!!!
  • Tim CharletTim Charlet Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    HEMI_guy wrote: »
    What would have helped in this case would to NOT have a had plywood or metal BOX out on the track!!!

    ^^^ This is true - but needs to be confirmed, as the information I'm getting is from an event last year...somebody REALLY needs to confirm EXACTLY what the timing system was comprised of officially. It certainly wasn't a foam block.

    *EDIT - I Found this video from another racer making a lap at Sebring that night. Timing system equipment is seen at 1:29 into the video - definitely NOT a foam block. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=89&v=rT4mAJh7Sy0

    I understand that it opens up a HUGE can of worms, but Sebring is NOT an NHRA or IHRA sanctioned facility. They have the freedom to use any timing system they choose. And ultimately, it's up to the driver and team owner to head down the track. I have a feeling even if they are asked, due to potential legal concerns nobody will reply with an open and transparent answer.

    I honestly believe the lesson learned here is that before driving ANY vehicle designed and certified for competition on an NHRA Sanctioned facility - a driver AND team owner should fully inspect the facility to ensure it is designed to work in conjunction with their vehicle. If it's too short, doesn't have the right equipment designed for SAFETY (like a foam block for example) or doesn't have appropriate safety or emergency response equipment/personnel - to quote Tim McAmis - "Pack up your **** and race elsewhere..."
  • StockerGTPStockerGTP Member
    edited November 2018
    ^^^ This is true - but needs to be confirmed, as the information I'm getting is from an event last year...somebody REALLY needs to confirm EXACTLY what the timing system was comprised of officially. It certainly wasn't a foam block.

    *EDIT - I Found this video from another racer making a lap at Sebring that night. Timing system equipment is seen at 1:29 into the video - definitely NOT a foam block. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=89&v=rT4mAJh7Sy0

    I understand that it opens up a HUGE can of worms, but Sebring is NOT an NHRA or IHRA sanctioned facility. They have the freedom to use any timing system they choose. And ultimately, it's up to the driver and team owner to head down the track. I have a feeling even if they are asked, due to potential legal concerns nobody will reply with an open and transparent answer.


    I honestly believe the lesson learned here is that before driving ANY vehicle designed and certified for competition on an NHRA Sanctioned facility - a driver AND team owner should fully inspect the facility to ensure it is designed to work in conjunction with their vehicle. If it's too short, doesn't have the right equipment designed for SAFETY (like a foam block for example) or doesn't have appropriate safety or emergency response equipment/personnel - to quote Tim McAmis - "Pack up your **** and race elsewhere..."

    I slowed that video down to .25 speed and still hard to see. Looks like two cones in a row and something behind them.
  • rebilasphotorebilasphoto Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    Yea, looks like at least two orange cones. Those weigh enough that they could absolutely have been responsible for what happened at 200mph. They used to use those cones in front of timing system at NHRA but thankfully they got rid of them sometime in the 90s.
  • a21studa21stud Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    In the 70's all tracks still used photo cells under the Armco guardrail. There were typically 3 sets of two 12 volt aircraft landing lights in the middle of the track that the cars broke their beam aimed at each photo cell. One light facing each lane at the mph start, et stop and mph stop points. With improvements they reduced it to two sets with one starting mph and the other stop et and stop mph.

    We always had six spare sets ready to go as they were run over every so often. I can remember many times beating the sheetmedal back in shape so they would hold a couple new bulbs.

    That was with major races including folks like Garlits, Weibe, Shirley, Jeb Allen, Beadle, McEwen and 240 Gordie.

    I have no idea what kind of or how old the Sebring clocks are, but this sort of thing is exactly why I've refused to even go in the gate of uninsured tracks. You get hurt there and even your own insurance will probably be void. You can sign all of your rights away by signing the tracks waiver in many states but that typically means you are also nullifying your personal insurance.

    So sorry to hear this sort of thing is still going on. I met Kat and we know her boy friend, Kyle. So very sorry for him, her family and everyone involved.
  • Yvonne*Yvonne* Super Moderator
    edited November 2018
    I agree 100% that adding a canopy on a Jet Dragster is a smart and safe idea. In fact, this is a leading reason why my partner David Douthit has chosen to build a 2nd Nostalgia Jet Funny Car as opposed to repairing their damaged Jet Dragster caused by a truck slamming into their rig last summer. Smaller tracks (where the majority of Jet Cars are booked for shows) are notorious for having lots of rocks and debris that pelt drivers as they head down the track (especially in the shutdown area).

    However, the cost associated with building an approved canopy is the number one argument for making them mandated for a Jet Dragster. With the exception of a few teams (such as Larson's, Hanna, and perhaps Franco's Lucas Oil jets) the majority of Jet Car owners race on a very tight operating budget. While I agree that safety should be the number one consideration and that adding a canopy would be a great idea, it also would cost a significant amount of money and arguably shut down the majority of jet dragsters out there today.

    Just some food for thought.

    Retro-fitting something onto an existing chassis is expensive but I think at the very least going forward there shouldn't be a single jet dragster that is built new without a canopy.

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