Racecar Driver Shawn Balluzzo, 64, Dies in Crash at Langley Speedway: ‘He Was a Legend’
Shawn Balluzzo died after he was involved in a crash during a race on Saturday night
Racecar driver Shawn Balluzzo, a father of four, died following a crash on Saturday night at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia. He was 64.
After finishing in second place in the first of two races at the twin 50-lap season openers for the Modified Division races, Balluzzo bumped into another car and crashed hood-first into a wall, according to the Associated Press.
"I saw him impact the wall head-on, and you know that's never a good hit," driver Mark Wertz told the outlet. "You don't think it's as bad as it was, but it was kind of surreal."
Emergency workers removed the roof of Balluzzo's No. 48 car to retrieve him, but he died at a nearby hospital later that night. Balluzzo was the winningest driver in Langley Speedway history and his death is the first fatal racing accident at the track since 2004, the Virginian-Pilot reported.
"Shawn’s great, he was a legend out here," Matt Carter, who won both races, said of Balluzzo. "He’s dominated this series for many years."
"It’s always been my goal to beat him because he’s been the ‘Modified Man’ out here. It was a great night [for me] and it turned into a tragedy," Carter told the AP.
Langley Speedway released a statement on Sunday morning that praised Balluzzo's impact on the track and offered condolences to his wife and children.
"Our hearts are heavy this morning. Driver Shawn Balluzzo passed away following an incident during Saturday Night's modified feature at Langley Speedway, leaving behind a championship legacy both on and off the track," the statement read. "He won the hearts of our fans with 11 track championships and a driving style that made him one of the most respected competitors we've ever known."
RELATED VIDEO: NASCAR Driver Ryan Newman Speaks to Family After Terrifying Crash
"The Langley Speedway family grieves at this terrible loss and offers our deepest condolences to his wife Terri and his three children," the statement continued. "We ask that you respect the family's privacy during this trying time."
"He’s probably the most fearless guy I ever raced against," Wertz added to the Virginian-Pilot. "He didn’t give an inch and he was scared of nothing."