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FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Car engine kills spectator at Harrells Raceway

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Car engine kills spectator at Harrells Raceway

Harrells, NC – On Sunday, May 16th, around 9:18 PM, an accident at the Harrells Raceway on 3030 Buckhorn Road, Harrells, NC, claimed the life of a spectator.

During a two car drag race, on dual lanes, a race car operated by Joseph Wactor of Brooklyn, NY, lost control and struck the guardrail. The vehicle was traveling approximately 130- 135 mph when it hit the guardrail, and the vehicle started disintegrating. The vehicle’s engine was thrown approximately 100 feet and landed on a bystander, who was standing along the raceway’s chain link fence.

The bystander, Terry McDougald, of Lillington, NC, died on the scene. The driver of the race car, Mr. Wactor, suffered several injuries but refused medical treatment after a helicopter from the hospital in Wilmington landed on the scene.

A second spectator was injured when a burning fuel cell from the vehicle flew past them. The burned spectator was transported to the hospital for treatment.

Several vehicles were damaged by flying debris from the crash. No other injuries were reported. Rumors circulated on the scene that the flying engine threw the deceased into a motor home, however investigation revealed other parts from the vehicle struck the motor home and the deceased did not strike the vehicle.

Weather conditions are not being considered as factors in the accident. It was not raining at the time of the crash, however it had rained earlier in the night. Raceway crews dried the strip, and several races had been conducted between the rain shower and the crash. There are no indications to indicate foul play, however the incident is still under investigation to determine the exact cause of the crash.



HARRELLS, NC (WWAY) - Sampson County Sheriff's Investigators say a driver lost control of his car while drag racing at the Harrells's Raceway Sunday Night.

An investigator says the car's engine flew off, tore through a fence and struck a spectator throwing him at least 40 feet and into the front windshield of an RV. The impact killed him instantly. Another spectator was burned and was taken to the hospital in Wilmington.

Emergency workers cut the driver out of the car. He was also taken to the hospital. No word this morning on their condition.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Idiot Again

Who ever even said it was a part failure? There's more wrecks from traction issues than parts failing and how! Ignorance.....


Ignorance kills me! you clearly just wanted to say somthing but had nothing to say so you made an ignorant comment. I race and you won't find part number 1 on any of my cars street or strip! These weren't a couple of ricers putting down 11 sec 1/8 mile slips, but 4 sec dedicated drag cars. Next time don't make a comment unless it's an intelligent one. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, along with Buddy Blow who was racing Joe, and Eddie the track owner. This is going to be hard for them all.

Japanese parts?

I doubt you'll find Japanese parts on a top-fuel dragster driven by John Force or his daughter Ashley.

What I think will happen at Harrell's Dragway is a change in where spectators are allowed to stand.

WWAY got rid of their

WWAY got rid of their monitors and handed over the reigns to the trolls, haven't they? There is absolutely no reason for a post like this to ever be taken seriously.

Why do you fell that this

Why do you fell that this post can not be taken seriously?



I have been to many drag

I have been to many drag races and love the sport. I have seen many serious mishaps on the track. I know the most thrills are close to the finish line for those watching, but the safest place, by far, is at the starting line. I would just as soon see the front wheels come off the ground and stay a lot safer. My sympathy goes to the family of the man who lost his life.

This news is such a

This news is such a tragedy....My heart goes out to the family of the spectator. I love dragracing just as much as the next person and no one ever wants to think things like this can happen...but they can and do. Does anyone know who the driver of the car was. We have several friends that race at this track and hope it wasnt anyone of them. Again..the family has my prayers so that they may be able to cope with the loss of their love one!

I don't know anything about

I don't know anything about the driver. All others injured were from the same family, 2 brothers and a nephew.

The driver of the car that

The driver of the car that in the accident was Pro Stock Joe. He sponsered several races in Fayetteville. He was racing Sweet Potato.

My prayers are with Pro Stock Joe & his family, the spectators & their families, and Sweet Potato & his family!

Read the story again

"During a two car drag race, on dual lanes, a race car operated by Joseph Wactor of Brooklyn, NY, lost control and struck the guardrail."

Quick to judge

The reply was obviously to the short version of the story that did not include that info. The name was supllied in an updated version of the story.

sad sad day

sunday was a sad sad day but things happen how was anybody spose to no that a car was going to hit the rail and the moter was going to fly out and kill somebody my thoughts and prayers go out to the family but this sport should not be band there should be something done to where this will not happen again but this sport should not be band.

I can assure you that you

I can assure you that you will not find japanese parts on the cars that were racing. The prostock guys usually have deep pockets or sponsors with deep pockets, and they are not gonna destroy a $50,000 engine over a few cheap parts. My prayers go out to the family, it is a terrible FREAK ACCIDENT. My prayers to Prostock Joe also because now he has to live with this. But it is my beliefe that when it's your time to go, that it's your time to go.