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Langley Speedway star Shawn Balluzzo, 64, dies in crash during race


Championship racecar driver Shawn Balluzzo, renowned for his 11 track championships, died Saturday in “an incident” during a race at Langley Speedway.

He was 64.

The “winningest driver in the 70-year history of Langley Speedway,” as The Virginian Pilot described him, crashed during the second of twin 50-lap races in the Modified Division and was fatally injured.

“Our hearts are heavy this morning,” Langley Speedway said in a statement Sunday. “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 longtime driver was an inspiration, the speedway said.

“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,” the speedway said. “The Langley Speedway family grieves at this terrible loss and offers our deepest condolences to his wife Terri and his three children.”

It was the first fatal racing accident at Langley since the August 2004 death of Dale Lemonds, The Virginian Pilot said.

In 2019 Balluzzo won 16 of 17 division races, according to the Associated Press. On Saturday he finished second in the first of Saturday’s season-opening twin 50-lap races. But during the second race his car became airborne after bumping another car and smashed head-on into a wall, AP said.

Emergency workers cut the roof of to extricate him but Balluzzo died at the hospital, AP said.

“I saw him impact the wall head-on and you know that’s never a good hit,” driver Mark Wertz said, according to AP. “You don’t think it’s as bad as it was, but it was kind of surreal.”

With News Wire Services