NASCAR champion Michael Stefanik was the pilot killed in a plane crash in Sterling on Sunday afternoon, according to the Associated Press.
Stefanik was taken to the hospital with severe injuries and burns and was later pronounced dead, according to state police.
The crash happened in the area of Plainfield Pike.
The accident involved an ultralite Aerolite 103, single-engine, single-seat glider-type plane, according to police.
The aircraft had taken off from Riconn Airport just over the state line in Coventry, Rhode Island and had been turning back toward the airfield when it crashed into a wooded area adjacent to the airport.
NASCAR confirmed Sunday that Stefanik was killed in the accident. He was 61.
Stefanik won nine NASCAR series championships to tie Hall of Famer Richie Evans for the record, topping the Whelen Modified Tour seven times and Busch North Series twice. He also raced in what are now called the NASCAR Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck series, taking rookie of the year honors at age 41 in the truck series in 1999, according to the Associated Press.
Stenanik holds the Whelen Modified Tour record with 74 victories from 1985 to 2014. A six-time nominee for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, he had 12 victories the Busch North Series.