SEBRING, Fla. – Florida Tech grad student Katarina Moller, 24, passed away as a result of an accident during an exhibition run in a jet dragster at Sebring International Raceway on Thursday night.
The Sarasota native was a driver for the American Dream racing team, one of six teams under the aegis of Brevard-based Larsen Motorsports, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.
According to authorities, Moller was making her first run in the car at Sebring’s regular drag racing event.
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, who went by the nickname "Kat," was a regular, and very popular, racer at local short tracks. She was in her fifth season with the Larsen team.
Larsen Motorsports, based in Palm Bay, also has a jet dragster driven by Elaine Larsen and sponsored by Florida Tech, which has a jet dragster team.
Elaine Larsen posted a statement on her Facebook page Thursday night that read, in part: "Chris Larsen, CEO of Larsen Motorsports expressed deep sympathy and heartbreak for the Moller family. Kat has been part of our racing family for 5 years and we cannot begin to express our sorrow,” stated Larsen. "Your prayers in this very difficult time are appreciated."
Elaine Larsen and her husband, Chris, co-founded and operate Larsen Motorsports, a multiteam national professional organization specializing in turbine-powered high performance vehicles.
Larsen's dragster has hit speeds as fast as 296 mph. Her top speed? 336 mph in Wisconsin on a track longer than the official quarter of a mile.
“We knew Kat well and were big fans of her personality and her driving skill,” said Wayne Estes, president and general manager of Sebring International Raceway. “Sebring International Raceway and the entire racing community are heartbroken.”
On Moller's official website, she says she started racing junior dragsters at age 11 and made her pro debut in 2014.
She earned a BS degree in mechanical engineering at the University of South Florida in April 2016.
Other drivers on the Larsen teams: DeWayne Hill, Jake Elliott and Kat Redner.