MOTORSPORT TRAGEDY: Leon Gonyo (63) died after crashing during his victory lap at the Nascar Whelen All-American Series on September 19. Image: Devil's Bowl Speedway
West Haven, Vermont – Stock car racer Leon Gonyo died from injuries sustained from a crash during his victory lap of the Nascar Whelen All-American Series on Saturday (September 19), Devil’s Bowl Speedway management confirmed.
The 63-year-old driver appeared to suffer a "medical issue" while driving his car at the Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Fair Haven, Vermont.
He crashed into the retaining wall ahead of the victory lane area.
40 years of racing
According to Devil’s Bowl Speedway, Gonyo had 40 years of success at many race tracks in the US and Canada.
His talents seemed to only improve with age, proven by his final victory on Saturday night – his fifth win of the season at the Devil’s Bowl Speedway and his seventh overall in 2015.
Gonyo utilised 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.
Devil's Bowl Speedway sent its condolences to Gonyo’s family, team, his wide-reaching fan base, and the community of Chazy, New York.
A statement from organisers said: "Much more than just a winner, Leon Gonyo was a very well-respected and highly regarded member of the local stock car racing community.
"He was presented with Devil’s Bowl Speedway’s highest honour for 2013, the John Bruno Award, which is given annually to someone who has made a significant contribution to short track racing during their lifetime while maintaining high standards of conduct and respect on and off the track. Gonyo met and far surpassed the award’s criteria and was a leader in the community."