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Drag racer dies at Rockingham

- macooke@charlotteobserver.com
Saturday, Sep. 10, 2011

A memorial service was held Saturday at Rockingham Dragway for a 51-year-old competitor who was fatally injured in a wreck during qualifying Friday night.

Bert Jackson's Extreme Pro Stock Pontiac hit the right-side wall on the eighth-mile strip, then the left-side barrier before beginning a series of barrel rolls, witnesses said. Some witnesses speculated the car 's throttle had stuck.

The accident happened during the third qualifying session of the American Drag Racing League’s Dragstock VIII at the Rockingham strip.

Jackson, of Glen Allen, Va., was pronounced dead at FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital in Rockingham.

A Charlotte Observer study that has tracked deaths in U.S. racing since 1990 shows at least 217 people have died since February 2001.

“The entire ADRL community is deeply saddened by Friday’s incident and offers its most sincere condolences and prayers to Jackson’s family, teammates and friends,” a statement on the American Drag Racing League’s website said.

“Jackson was a passionate competitor, an incredibly kind-hearted human being and touched the lives of many during his drag racing career.”

The dragway is located just north of Rockingham, about 80 miles east of Charlotte and is adjacent to the Rockingham Speedway oval.

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