Short Track Driver Dies During Victory Lap At Devil’s Bowl Speedway

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Leon Gonyo (Photo: Courtesy of Devi's Bowl Speedway)

Leon Gonyo (Photo: Courtesy of Devi’s Bowl Speedway)

Tragedy struck Saturday evening at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, Vt. when longtime competitor Leon Gonyo passed away during an event at the facility.

According to a release from the track, Gonyo, 63, suffered a “medical event” while taking a victory lap around the track after winning the last asphalt Modified event of the season at the track.

“Mr. Gonyo was a true gentleman of the sport and enjoyed a racing career with more than 40 years of success at many race tracks in the northeastern United States and Canada,” read a statement from Devil’s Bowl Speedway. “His talents seemed to only improve with age, proven by his final victory on Saturday night – his fifth win of the season at Devil’s Bowl Speedway and his seventh overall in 2015.

“Much more than just a winner, Leon Gonyo was a very well-respected and highly regarded member of the local stock car racing community, and was presented with Devil’s Bowl Speedway’s highest honor 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. Mr. Gonyo met and far surpassed the award’s criteria and was a leader in the community.”

The statement from the track continued: “The effort and care shown in assisting Mr. Gonyo on Saturday night was nothing short of incredible, and Devil’s Bowl Speedway thanks the Fair Haven Rescue medical staff on site, the Devil’s Bowl Speedway Safety Team, and the many people who volunteered to help, for their personal care and professionalism.

“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. 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.”


  1. Wow. If you leave this earth while taking a victory lap on your last race of the season after more than 40 years of racing, you can’t ask for a much more fitting way to go.

  2. The sad part is that this was the only news about local short track racing in the papers as an actual article rather than some looked over section in the back.

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