Auto racing can be an exciting sport, but it is also a dangerous one.  And despite all of the safety precautions, accidents do happen and sometimes with tragic results.

During a modified race at the Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia July 11, Modified racing champion Shawn Balluzzo crashed his car into the turn two wall head on after launching over the hood of another car.  Safety workers had to remove the roof from Balluzzo’s car in order to get him out of the car.  Balluzzo later died as a result of his injuries at a local hospital.  He was 64.

The crash happened in the second of two races run Saturday night in the track’s season opener.  He had finished second in the first race.

He was an eleven time Langley Speedway champion who won 16 of the 17 modified races run last year at Langley.

A statement issued by Langley Speedway officials noted that Balluzzo had, “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.”

Balluzzo is survived by his wife Terri and three children.

feature photo credit: Shawn Balluzzo’s Facebook page