That same year, 65-year-old Lou Lazzaro, of Utica, N.Y., collapsed after a race at Fonda Speedway and died two days later. Lazzaro, who had bypass heart surgery four years earlier, suffered a massive stroke that left him in a coma and died of an inoperable blood clot on the brain.
That Muldoon continues to compete probably stems partly from the fact that racing is in his blood. His father, Jim, raced at Oswego in the 1970s and his brother, Mike, is in the track’s hall of fame.
“It ain’t the money, definitely. My dad had six kids and no money,” said Shawn Muldoon, who is searching for a primary sponsor. “It’s just for the love of racing. It’s like an adrenaline rush. It’s different.”
Or perhaps there’s something alluringly macabre in all this. A week after Lazzaro died, his No. 4 was retired and, after one last victory lap, family members and friends spread his ashes around the half-mile oval in upstate New York where he won 113 feature races during a remarkable career spanning six decades.
“Tony always told me if he was going to die somewhere, he’d rather die doing what he loved doing,” Wayne White said. “That’s where he was. In his own way, he’d be happy. It’s just sad at the same time.”
“It’s the way I hope I go, not laying in a bed with cancer,” Muldoon said. “Just like that, you’re done. And it wouldn’t matter when it happened.”