The driver of a Nissan GT-R lost his life Saturday morning in a racing accident at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana.
According to The New Orleans Advocate, 52-year-old Jeff Hagaman of North Carolina was driving a Nissan GT-R at speeds above 200 miles per hour as part of a single-vehicle run on NOLA's 5,300-foot drag strip at 9:21 am, believed to be part of an event at the track called the WannaGoFast New Orleans Half-Mile Shootout. During his run, he lost control of the vehicle, according to a spokesperson for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, with witnesses stating they saw the vehicle roll multiple times. On-scene emergency medical staff responded immediately, but to no avail. Hagaman has not been officially identified as the deceased, though multiple social media posts name him as the driver of the car.
"Been racing around him for years. Guy was full of life and not a rookie racer," stated Steven Eades, owner of Rock Solid Motorsports, to The New Orleans Advocate. "He was always racing anywhere he could across the country."
"NOLA Motorsports Park offers its deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of the driver," added the racetrack in an official statement. "They will be in our thoughts and prayers."
A social media post by one Brandon Hentges alleges that the GT-R was a highly-modified, 2,000-horsepower vehicle. Hentges attributes bumpy track surface for Hagaman's alleged loss of control. He states that he also forfeited his prepaid opportunity at a top speed run out of concern for his own safety.
NOLA Motorsports park gave its own account of the morning's events to The Drive.
"On the morning of September 22, a professional motorsports company was holding its own private event at NOLA Motorsports Park. At approximately 9:21 am a vehicle was involved in a single vehicle incident which resulted in one fatality. Medical and rescue personnel were on the scene during the event and responded to the incident," stated NOLA CEO Francisco Christian. "NOLA Motorsports Park offers its deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of the driver. They will be in our thoughts and prayers."
The New Orleans Advocate cites one previous death at NOLA Motorsports Park, in April of 2017, when a 44-year-old motorcyclist was killed. However, that accident occurred on the complex's road course and not its drag strip facility.
A video of Hagaman's high-speed run can be found below. Viewer discretion is advised given the circumstance of the wreck. No graphic images can be seen from the footage, but the crash is violent.
The Drive would like to wish the family of the deceased driver peace during this time. We would also like to remind the public that despite continuous advancements in motorsport safety, racing is still dangerous, and you can lose your life at any time without warning. Use as many safety precautions as possible when driving fast, such as helmets and roll cages to mitigate chances of injury if something goes wrong.