Statement from Las Vegas Motor Speedway general manager Chris Powell on the death of NHRA racer Darrell Russell, who was killed in a racing crash on Sunday

"Everyone at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is saddened by the death of Darrell Russell. In his short career as a professional drag racer, Darrell became a champion both on and off the track. He was a true friend to Las Vegas Motor Speedway and a past winner here. He participated in every driver autograph session the track promoted, and was always eager to assist with both public relations and hospitality for our events. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his race team and the entire drag-racing community. He will be missed."

Darrell won the inaugural NHRA ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2001. 

from NHRA.com:

Darrell was fatally injured June 27 as a result of a crash during race eliminations at an NHRA national event at Gateway International Raceway. Russell, 35, of Hockley, Tex., was competing in the second round of eliminations when his dragster went out of control and crashed just past the finish line.

Russell, driver of the dragster owned by NHRA legend Joe Amato, was the event's top qualifier and was coming off a victory recently in Columbus, Ohio. During his four year career he had earned six victories in 17 final rounds. He posted a career-best fourth place points finish in 2003 and was currently fourth in the Top Fuel points standings.