Drag racer Mark Niver dies in crash at Pacific Raceways
July 12, 2010 · Updated 2:25 PM
Mark Niver, 60, a top alcohol dragster from Phoenix, Ariz., died Sunday, July 11, at Pacific Raceways after his race car crashed in the shutdown area during the final elimination rounds at the 23rd Annual Northwest Nationals, according to the National Hot Rod Association's website.
"NHRA and Pacific Raceways officials extend their deepest sympathies to the entire Niver family," NHRA representatives said in a statement.
Niver was described on NHRA.com as "a racer's racer."
During most of Niver's career he built his dragsters, machined his own engines and components in addition to racing.
"His talent on the race track and in the machine shop was superseded only by his kindness and willingness to help other racers," the NHRA website said.
During his career, Niver raced dragsters of all varieties dating back to the Pro Comp era in the 1970s as well as blown alcohol and injected nitro engines, even driving a top fuel dragster a few times.
The crowning achievement in Niver's long career was his win at the 2008 O'Reilly Summer Nationals in Topeka, Kansas.
In a twist of fate Chris Demke, the driver he beat in 2008 in Topeka, drove in a single final round to win the event at Pacific Raceways after Niver's accident.
After the race Demke presented the Wally, the trophy of NHRA founder Wally Parks handed out to every national event winner, to Niver's family.
The King County Sheriff's Office was called by track officials at about 3:40 p.m. Sunday. By the time deputies arrived, Niver had died.
The sheriff's office major accident detectives will investigate. NHRA, the sport's governing body, is also investigating the accident.
Pacific Raceways is located near Covington in southeast unincorporated King County.