A Virginia man was fatally injured in a racing accident during the Maryland International Raceway’s $50,000-to-win Super Bowl of Bracket Racing event on Sunday afternoon. Veteran driver Thomas Dunford, from Tazewell, Virginia, failed to slow at the conclusion of his second round elimination match in which he won with a 4.59-second pass and ran off the end of the strip at a high rate of speed–his dragster accelerating through the sand trap and safety netting and coming to rest in the trees that separate the track from the nearby Budds Creek Road. The dragsters’ parachute was never released.
The Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department was called to the scene at 7:56 p.m., alerted of a high-speed accident and a priority four patient. Dunford pronounced dead by emergency personnel on the scene and a Sheriff’s Office Crash Reconstruction Team was dispatched to the facility to investigate the accident. With the lengthy investigation set to take place and out of respect for the fallen driver and his family, the remainder of the day’s racing activities were cancelled.
Dunford, a roofing contractor and general manager, began his racing career in the 1970s and had competed in various IHRA and bracket eliminators over the years, including a stint in a nitrous oxide-assisted Pro Modified Camaro in the late 2000s.