Photo courtesy Sebring International Raceway Facebook page

Promising jet dragster racer ‘Kat’ Moller killed in crash at Sebring

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Up-and-coming drag racer Katarina “Kat” Moller was killed in a tragic accident Thursday evening at Sebring International Raceway in Central Florida.

Moller, 24, of Sarasota, Florida, perished when the red, white and blue jet dragster she was piloting crashed during an exhibition run.

It was the first time Moller had ever driven a jet dragster at Sebring, according to several media reports.

“We knew Kat well and were big fans of her personality and her driving skill,” SIR president and general manager Wayne Estes said in a statement. “Sebring International Raceway and the entire racing community are heartbroken.”

Moller’s jet dragster in a previous race. Photo courtesy Moller’s official Facebook page.

Moller, who idolized legendary NHRA racer John Force, has been drag racing for 13 years, starting in the NHRA Junior Dragster ranks at the age of 11, according to a biography posted on Larsen Motorsports’ web site.

Moller had spent the last five seasons racing for the Larsen team.

According to a media release issued by the track, “the cause of the crash is being investigated by the Highland County Sheriff’s Office, and investigators are asking any spectators who were in attendance and recorded Moller’s run to call the Criminal Investigation Unit at 863-402-7250.”

Moller is the second jet dragster driver to die in a crash in recent months. 80-year-old racer Doug Rose, pilot of the legendary Green Mamba, was killed in August in a crash while racing at a track in Norway, Michigan.

MORE: 80-year-old Green Mamba jet car drag racer Doug Rose dies in crash.

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F1 races in Austin, Mexico City hitting financial rough patches

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AUSTIN, Texas — Two of Formula One’s three races in North America are facing financial issues that are raising concern about their future.

Organizers of the U.S. Grand Prix won’t get at least $20 million from the state of Texas for the 2018 race after missing a paperwork deadline set by state law. And new questions lurk about the future of the Mexican Grand Prix after the country’s new president suggested the government may not spend on the race like it has the last four years.

Both races have been popular with drivers and fans, and have enjoyed key dates on the F1 calendar. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton clinched season championships in Texas in 2015 and in Mexico City in 2017 and 2018.

Officials in Formula One and at the Circuit of the Americas, host of the U.S. Grand Prix, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.