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Drag racer dies in crash in Washington

By Leslie Tripp, CNN
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Dragster's death rattles fellow racers
  • Niver, 60, crashes into net at end of track when parachute comes off
  • Death is second of the year in National Hot Rod Association series
  • Niver raced for more than 20 years
  • He won his first race two years ago

(CNN) -- Officials will conduct an autopsy Monday on Mark Niver, a drag racer who died when the parachute came off the back of his dragster -- sending him slamming into the netting at the end of the track.

Niver, 60, was taking part in the National Hot Rod Association's Lucas Oil Northwest Nationals in Seattle, Washington, on Sunday.

After the parachute came off, he was able to slow the car a bit before plowing into the net fencing at the end of the drag strip.

The death was the second this year in the association's drag racing series.

Race announcers called Niver "a true craftsman and an innovator" who hand-built all his race cars from start to finish -- he machined his engines and components and fabricated the car bodies.

Niver had been racing in the hot rod association for more than 20 years, but won his first race just two years ago in a race at Topeka, Kansas.