By Mark Brown/Kustom Keepsakes
WEST HAVEN — Devil’s Bowl Speedway management confirmed the loss of one of its stock car racing family members, driver Ron Casey, in an official statement released Monday, July 4.
Ron Casey, age 61 from Manchester Center, Vt., was competing in a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Sportsman Modified race on the 3/10-mile Dirt Track at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, Vt., on the evening of Sunday, July 3, 2016 when he was stricken with what appeared to be a medical emergency that led to a crash.
With nine of 35 laps complete at approximately 9:15 p.m., Casey’s racecar suddenly veered off course through the infield at a high rate of speed and traveled through the infield grass before making a hard impact with a retaining wall in Turn 2 and coming to rest.
No other people or vehicles were involved in the incident.
Mr. Casey was quickly and carefully tended to by track safety workers and the Fair Haven Rescue medical team who were on site and at the scene within 60 seconds, the statement continued. Casey was extricated from the car and transported by ambulance to Rutland Regional Medical Center in Rutland, Vt., where he was officially pronounced deceased at 12:12 a.m. on Monday, July 4.
The cause and manner of death are under investigation and pending the results of an autopsy, Trooper Erin Hodges from the Rutland wrote in the police report.
Ron Casey used proper safety equipment including an approved helmet, head-and-neck restraint system, aluminum racing seat, and certified restraining belts, all of which were in good condition and met current safety specifications, according to Devil’s Bowl. The car was inspected following the crash and was deemed to be mechanically and structurally fit for competition.
“Ron Casey was the epitome of the old-school, hard-working Vermonter, and was an impeccable ambassador for grassroots auto racing,” stated the Devil’s Bowl Speedway management in its statement. “His warm, friendly demeanor was a welcome addition to every track at which he competed during his long career. Racing on a shoestring budget, his priority was fun over success and his passion, enthusiasm, and dedication for the sport were obvious. Mr. Casey was the first driver to register to compete when dirt track racing returned to Devil’s Bowl Speedway in September 2014; he was the first driver to arrive at the track’s official car show in Downtown Rutland on a rainy 35-degree morning in May 2016; and he was the first driver in line to enter the pit area on the night that he passed away – just as he was at virtually every race.”
Visiting Hours: Friday, July 8, 6-8 p.m.
Brewster-Shea Funeral Service
34 Park Place
Manchester Center, VT
Graveside Services: Tuesday, July 12, 1 p.m.
2950 Main Street/Route 7A
Manchester Center, VT