Veteran Devil’s Bowl Speedway driver Ron Casey, 61, died after a crash at Sunday night’s dirt track race at the West Haven track, according to management. He leaves behind two sons, Jeremy and Ryan, a brother, and his mother. Casey also leaves behind many friends.
“He was very loving man, a very caring man, loved to joke, loved talking about his grandkids,” says Cathy Lake of Dorset, who had been friends with Casey for about 20 years. “He laughed at my jokes.”
Lake met Casey at a McDonald’s in Manchester, Vermont where Casey lived.
According to Speedway Owner Mike Bruno and Media Director Justin St. Louis, Casey suffered a medical event during the race, veering off the track, and hitting a wall at about 75 miles per hour.
Paramedics were on the scene immediately, Bruno said. Casey died at Rutland Regional Medical Center, after leaving the track in an ambulance. Bruno says he too has known Casey for decades.
“He was just a big old teddy bear, and yesterday, he was actually the first one in line,” says Bruno.
Vermont State Police are investigating what happened.
The crash happened during the popular Whistle Pig Whiskey Firecracker race touting Rutland County’s biggest fireworks display. Speedway Owner Mike Bruno said thousands of spectators were there. Cathy Lake had prior commitments and was not able to attend.
“I have mixed feeling about it because I’m glad I didn’t go, but I also regret it because I would’ve saw him last,” said Lake.
A similar tragedy happened last September when veteran racer Leon Gonyo died just after a race at Devil’s Bowl. He suffered a stroke while taking a victory lap.
“I can’t say it’s any easier, but I know we were better prepared this time,” said Bruno. “The safety crew was there immediately, he was still with us, so everyone got the roof off, got him out of the car, and he was in an ambulance within 20 to 30 seconds.”
Casey’s wife died of cancer two years ago. Lake and Bruno say they’re happy he died doing what he loved.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway management sent this statement Monday: