Photo Credit: 1320 Video
North Carolina resident Jeff Hagaman died in a single-vehicle accident while competing Saturday, September 22 at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana. The Nissan GTR flipped multiple times before it came to rest at 9:21 a.m. The cause of the crash has not been verified at this time but according to multiple sources, the contributing factor appears to have been the condition of the track in the braking/shutdown area immediately after the finish line. Normally these events are conducted on an airport runway and this was the first land speed event held at a closed circuit road racing venue.
NOLA Motorsports park gave its own account of Saturday's accident:
"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."
Jeff was 52 years old, was an experienced drag and land speed racer and was frequently racing at venues across the country. He is well known and respected among the racing community and owns Cadillac CTS-V Sedan which he also competed in at both drag racing and land speed events. His twin turbo Cadillac still holds the Half Mile record as the fastest CTS-V in the country at 212mph.
Kyle Loftis of 1320 Video provided a tribute to the fallen racer and condolences to the family. He described Jeff as an entertainer with a unique care free attitude that didn't always make sense. He is a "street car" racing legend!
"It's been a rough day in "our world" - I've been trying to process the roller coaster of emotions today after hearing of the loss of our friend Jeff Hagaman - Jeff was different than all the others we film at events, Jeff was an entertainer, Jeff had a unique care free attitude that didn't always make sense, Jeff is a street car racing legend. The face you see in these photos is a face that's been popping up in my head all day, remembering that smirk on his face as he pulled into a car show in his 1700hp CTSV, or after he made a super sketchy pass (but it was no big deal), or after he won 3 classes at SCT and broke the CTSV record... Jeff lived to race, and he was in heaven even before today because of the people he enjoyed racing with and helped him make his racing possible.
I urge everyone that knew Jeff to help us all remember him for the awesome man he was and post any memories or photos of Jeff enjoying what he lived for in the comments. I also urge you to hold off on pointing the finger of blame with what happened until the facts are uncovered, so we can remember Jeff and not turn this horrible loss into a negative snowball of stress for his friends & family. I'm confident this will lead to some big changes in 1/2 mile event safety, and I look forward to hearing the positive change that comes from this accident. Race in Peace buddy."
The WannaGoFast New Orleans 1/2 Mile Shootout was organized by Blake Hutchinson of wannaGOFAST as an opportunity for participants to "take their vehicle down NOLA Motorsports Park’s 5,300-foot straightaway and race side-by-side against the competitor of their choice. However, for any vehicle that was predicted to exceed 200mph the drivers were required to make "solo passes" down the track in their vehicle.
Jeff was making a solo pass in his GTR because it was predicted his top speed would definitely exceed the 200 mph range. When Jeff entered the shutdown/braking area he lost control and his vehicle flipped multiple times. All competition was immediately halted and the race organizers and NOLA Motorsports Park made the decision to cancel the event for the week-end due to track safety concerns.
The Cadillac V-Club would like to offer our prayers and condolences to the family and friends of Jeff Hagaman during their time of grief. We would also like to remind all drivers that despite continuous advancements in vehicle design and safety equipment, racing continues to be very dangerous and you can lose your life at any time without warning. When competing at any type of event, please always use as many safety precautions as possible when competing such as Snell SA2015 certified helmets with HANS devices, minimum of 6 point roll bars or full 10 point cages, SFI approved fire suits and fire proof gloves/shoes to mitigate your chances of injury if something goes wrong.
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