Northern California

75-Year-Old Drag Racer Who Died at Sonoma Raceway ID'd

James Kenneth Rambo has been indentified as the man who died after hitting the wall at the Sonoma Raceway in Northern California, according to Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.

The county Sheriff's Office says the car was doing 100 mph or more when it slammed into a wall Wednesday evening.

Rambo was a 75-year old Napa resident. His 1976 Ford Pinto was alone on the quarter-mile drag strip. 

The accident occurred during Wednesday Night Drags, a community program held from March to November. The program opens the track to 300 vehicles a night that must pass a technical inspection.

Rambo's son, Jeff, said his father was traveling about 120 mph when something went wrong just after the finish line. Rambo's family said he was in good health and had no medical conditions. Jeff Rambo believes the accident had something to do with the car's brakes, though the car hadn't had any previous problems.

Other racers say there's always a greater risk the faster you go.

"More brakes, harder brakes can get crazy at high speeds," retired racer Richard Cushman said.

The Wednesday Night Drags event aims to provide what the facility calls a "safe, legal and controlled" racing environment. It will continue as scheduled, raceway officials said.

The raceway says it's the first on-track death in the program's 30-year history.

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