The racing world lost one of its stars when driver Randy Alexander lost his life in a crash in the Southern Nationals in Atlanta on Saturday.
Alexander lost control of his vehicle in the right lane after crossing the finish line, swinging him into the left lane in front of Bob Mandell. Mandell, who clocked a speed of 203 miles per hour, had not slowed down much from the race yet and t-boned Alexander’s Corvette. This caused Alexander’s car to flip over and land on the retainer wall. Alexander passed away later at the hospital as a result of his injuries.
Veteran driver and Top Fuel record-holder Clay Millican, who has seen his fair share of crashes and malfunctions already this season, spoke to the media about the incident.
“[I] certainly was thinking about what happened earlier today with the Top Sportsman cars,” said Millican. “Man, we all know what can happen. NHRA has more 200-mile-an-hour runs by more individuals than any other sport in the world. And we kind of get used to these things going down the racetrack. So I’m certainly thinking about families that were involved in that today. It’s part of what we do, but man, you hate to see anything like that happen.”
Several hours after the incident, the NHRA released the following prepared statement:
“It is with heavy hearts that we report Randy Alexander of Harvest, Alabama, passed away at a local hospital after sustaining injuries in an on-track incident at the NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Georgia. NHRA and the entire racing community extend their deepest condolences and their prayers to the participant’s family and friends. We also ask that everyone respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time.”
An uptick in the number of crashes and explosions this season has the NHRA trying a number of different approaches to make the sport and its drivers safer.
This is a developing story and we’ll be sure to follow it.