LITCHFIELD PARK, Arizona — Marcus Norris’s passion was Top Fuel Sand Drag Racing. He was a champion who grew up around the sport. The Litchfield Park resident drove for his father’s team Pat Norris Racing. It was his life.

“He really did live drag racing. He knew all the stats, the statistics, on almost every driver,” said David Sell, a Pat Norris Racing teammate and friend for 32 years.

“The guy listened to NHRA podcasts all the time. You could ask him anything and he would have an answer,” said Ike Sneed, another Pat Norris Racing teammate.

Sadly, it would be that passion that ultimately took his life during a race near San Jacinto, Calif. on March 22.

For unknown reasons his Top Fuel dragster failed to shut down at the end of the race causing him to crash, while his team watched in shock.

“I just watched the worst thing that could happen at a track, happen,” said Chris Turner, a Pat Norris Racing teammate.

Today, his teammates are remembering the man with the big infectious smile. Marcus Norris, a family man, leader and most importantly for the Pat Norris Racing team - a friend.

“Just a joy to be around,” Stills said.

“Probably one of the biggest hearts I've seen on a human being,” Turner said.

“I love him," Sneed said. "I miss him like crazy. Think about him all the time."

“Always welcomed you with a smile and a hug,” Sheldon Stiles, another teammate, said. “I know my life and I feel confident speaking on behalf of everybody else. Our lives are better because he was in our lives.”

A memorial fund has been set up through GoFundMe if you would like to help.