As a result of an apparent medical problem sustained following the race, police say that a 63-year-old stock-car driver died while while making a victory lap at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, Vermont on Saturday night.
A statement released by the speedway said the driver of the car was Leon Gonyo, a native of Chazy, New York who had just won the final asphalt NASCAR All-American Series Modified race of the season at the speedway.
A racing competitor for more than 40 years, Gonyo had just taken his fifth win of the season at that particular speedway and seventh overall for the year.
Here is how the speedway detailed Saturday night’s incident:
Mr. Gonyo appeared to suffer a medical event while driving his racecar around the speedway during a ceremonial victory lap. His car then made an impact into the frontstretch retaining wall before approaching the victory lane area. Mr. Gonyo utilized proper safety equipment including an approved helmet, seat, and restraining belts. The car was inspected following the incident and was deemed to be mechanically and structurally sound.
The car made impact with official Dick Therrien’s leg, causing minor injuries that the speedway employe is now recovering from.
Gonyo was well respected in the racing community, receiving the John Bruno Award from Devil’s Bowl Speedway in 2013 for contributions to short-track racing and high standards of conduct and respect on the track and off.
Photo credit: Devil’s Bowl Speedway
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