SEBRING, Fla. — The death of a 24-year-old drag racer Thursday night was likely caused by a piece of debris that struck her helmet, investigators say.

  • Drag racer killed in mishap at Sebring raceway
  • Investigators: Kat Moller likely died after debris hit helmet
  • Florida Tech grad had raced dragsters since she was a child

Katarina "Kat" Moller of Sarasota died during an exhibition run at Sebring International Raceway. She was making her first run at Sebring's regular drag-racing event, the Highlands County Sheriff's Office said.

Moller was in her fifth season racing for Palm Bay-based Larsen Motorsports. She was a Florida Tech graduate and had been racing dragsters since she was 11.

A preliminary investigation has determined that as she went down the lane, her jet-propelled dragster struck a timing device between the lanes. A parachute deployed, and the dragster drifted in the opposite direction down the lane until it scraped a retaining barrier wall and bumped a tire barrier on the track, where it came to a stop.

Safety and medical personnel rushed to the vehicle, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

A medical examiner has not issued their final report, and an investigation is ongoing. Anyone who can provide information or video of the incident is urged to contact Highlands County detectives at or 863-402-7250.