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California Briefing / Fontana

Racer dies testing brakes at track

August 09, 2009|Jia-Rui Chong and Paloma Esquivel

A drag racer conducting a brake test died Saturday at the Auto Club Speedway when his car smashed into a parked trailer at more than 100 miles per hour, authorities said.

Ronald Marcum, 53, of La Habra was conducting the test in the pit area about 8:30 a.m. when the transmission on the custom drag car suddenly engaged, authorities said.

Such brake tests normally involve revving the vehicle at high revolutions per minute while pushing a button that stops the transmission from engaging, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The National Hot Rod Assn., which sets rules for drag racing events, requires that the tests be conducted while the car's tires are off the ground, but those rules were not followed in this case, according to the CHP.

-- Jia-Rui Chong and Paloma Esquivel

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