Moments after winning the final Modified division event of the 2015 season Saturday at Vermont’s Devil’s Bowl Speedway, Leon Gonyo passed away at the age of 63.
According to a provided statement from Devil’s Bowl Speedway officials, Gonyo, of Chazy, New York, appeared to suffer an undisclosed medical event while performing a ceremonial victory lap after Saturday’s win. Gonyo’s car then impacted the frontstretch wall before heading into the victory lane area.
The statement also noted that Gonyo “utilized proper safety equipment including an approved helmet, seat and restraining belts,” and the car was deemed “mechanically and structurally sound.”
Dick Therrien, listed on the Devil’s Bowl Speedway website as the Sponsorship and Sales representative for the track, sustained “minor injuries” when Gonyo’s car struck a ladder that Therrien was standing on, according to the statement. Therrien is recovering at home after being evaluated at a local hospital.
Gonyo competed for more than 40 years throughout the northeastern part of the United States and in Canada. Saturday’s win was his fifth of the 2015 season.
“Our thoughts and very best wishes are with Leon Gonyo’s family and race team, his wide-reaching fan base, and the community of Chazy, New York,” the statement continued. “Devil’s Bowl Speedway thanks its legion of racing fans, competitors, officials, staff and volunteers, sponsors, and media members for their outpouring of support and asks that the same continues to be extended to the Gonyo family.”
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director with provided statement from Devil’s Bowl Speedway
– Photos provided by Devil’s Bowl Speedway