We understood a month later that it was 11gs from a reputable source, but either way, probably too many Gs for anyone not bracing themselves for that sudden of a change in attitude and speed. A few of us were just behind the grandstand from where it crashed and we saw the attitude change that I do not believe was ever caught on video. The plane passed over the grandstand and slowed enough to do a torque roll then the plane now inverted, teeter tottered about 100° down just past a vertical position and gained speed driving it into the ground. There was a moment when we thought it was coming straight for us. It was only about 5 seconds later that it disappeared behind the grandstand (on the front side) and disintergrated into what seemed to be a million pieces. The people in the grandstands had no idea that it had reversed direction until it was in on top of them, and there was neither time nor any way to warn them. My heartfelt condolences and prayers go to those families that lost their loved ones and my prayers go to anyone that was injured.
Still curious as to why the photos showed the pilot as not being visible.
So is this likely to be a failure to properly preflight the aircraft? I would think that a race plane would have technicians from the team pouring all over the plane before a race checking everything that could go wrong, but I'm not a racer, just a former bush pilot in Alaska that always checked literally everything before I flew. I know, hindsight! But that's how we learned up there. Experiences, good or bad, of others taught us what could go wrong so we checked and developed our skills.
I would hope racers learn from this accident and always check everything before a race.