It happened around 9:18 p.m. at the Harrells Raceway on Buckhorn Road. According to the Sampson County Sheriff's Office, a two-car drag race was taking place just before the accident.
The cars were in separate lanes when the vehicle driven by Joseph Wactor of Brooklyn, NY lost control and hit the guardrail. The vehicle was traveling between 130 and 135 moh at the time.
After the car hit the rail, it began coming apart. The engine was thrown about 100 feet through the air and through a chain link fence, hitting a spectator.
Terry McDougald of Lillington died at the scene. The driver of the car also was injured but refused medical treatment.
A second spectator suffered burns. He was transported to the New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
Authorities say weather conditions are not being considered a factor in the case. An investigation is underway to determine the exact cause of the crash.