A stock car racer died while he was taking a ceremonial victory lap after winning the final asphalt NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified race of the season on Saturday night.
Leon Gonyo, a 63-year-old driver from Chazy, NY, died while apparently suffering a medical issue while conducting the victory lap at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Fair Haven, Vermont.
Devil's Bowl Speedway confirmed that the long time stock car racing competitor had died during the ceremonial lap.
After Gonyo won the speedway's final asphalt series race, he was circling the track when the medical problem occurred and his car accelerated into a wall before bouncing off and making an approach toward the speedway's victory lane area, said witnesses.
He was pronounced dead at Rutland Regional Medical Center, MyChamplainValley reported.
The veteran driver had raced stock cars for more than 40 years throughout the Northeast and Canada and Saturday's race marked his fifth victory of the season at the Fair Haven track.
Gonyo was wearing a helmet and seat-belt when the accident occurred. An inspection of his vehicle revealed that it was mechanically and structurally sound.
At least Gonyo went out a winner and doing what he loved.