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Modified great Shawn Balluzzo dies in Langley Speedway incident

Langley Speedway lost one of its giants on Saturday night.

Shawn Balluzzo, 64, died as a result of injuries sustained in a crash during a Modified feature at the Hampton, Virginia short track. Balluzzo struck a wall opening in Turn 2 on the 13th lap of the second feature of the night.

Balluzzo captured 11 Langley Speedway Modified track championships — four more than any other champion in track history. He made numerous Late Model Stock appearances across the region as well. He competed in four NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified events. He had won 35 Modified features since the track reopened in 2017.

He won 16 of 17 last season, leading to a bounty against him.

Balluzzo finished second to Matt Carter in the first 50 lap feature on Saturday night. Balluzzo started the second in seventh-place and was running third when he and Chris Johnson came together out of Turn 2 on Lap 13. Baluluzzo went airborne and suffered a front facing crash into the Turn 2 wall.

The track confirmed his passing on Sunday morning.

“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. 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 Langley Speedway family grieves at this terrible loss and offers our deepest condolences to his wife Terri and his three children. We ask that you respect the family’s privacy during this trying time.”

Balluzzo is the first driver to die at the track as the result of an incident since August 2004, when Legends Division driver Dale Lemonds crashed into the Turn 2 wall yards from where Balluzzo’s vehicle hit.

Nearby Virginia Motor Speedway also offered a statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Shawn Balluzzo and our friends at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway,” the statement says.  “Please keep Terri Balluzzo and the rest of the family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. David G Whitlow

    July 26, 2020 at 10:33 am

    Was there when we lost him. You have to understand what it was like watching Shawn come through the field. He started 7th in the feature when the field was inverted and like always, all eyes were on the 48 cause he was headed to the front. Last night was the first Modified race at Langley without the 48 and his absence was felt. It was like the first race after Earnhardt passed. It just didn’t seem right.

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