Driver identified in Saturday’s fatal crash involving custom race car

Published 12:29 pm Sunday, March 6, 2016

MOORESVILLE — The N.C. Highway Patrol has identified the driver killed Saturday morning while test driving his race car on Performance Road off N.C. 152.

Trooper J.D. Best said Sunday the victim was Mike Marcelli, 54, of Ontario, Canada. Best released the man’s identity after contacting his family Saturday.

Shortly before 10:59 a.m. Saturday, Marcelli lost control of his custom stock car as he came back to a straightaway on Performance Road and ran off the right side of the pavement.

The car, which had a Camaro body style, went through the yard of a nearby company and hit an embankment. Best said Saturday Marcelli was ejected from the vehicle, then the car rolled back on top of him.

He was dead when the highway patrol and EMS reached the scene.

Marcelli owned the race car, as well as a business on Performance Drive, reports said.

Performance Road, next door to the Mooresville Dragway, is lined with race shops, and Best said Saturday the circular road is often used to try out cars.

Reports said Marcelli was not wearing a seat belt or helmet, and Best said speed likely was a factor. Best said Saturday test drives on Performance Road usually are made to do things such as checking brakes or to determine how engines are running, not for racing.