STERLING, Conn. (WTNH) — Modified stock car driver, Michael Stefanik, died after a single-engine plane crash in Sterling on Sunday afternoon.

Jim France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO, issued a statement about the 61-year-old who was a nine-time NASCAR champion and NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee.

State Police report that at approximately 2:02pm, an Aero Ultra-Light Aircraft Model #103 – a single-engine, single-seat plane – went down in the area of 1329 Plainfield Pike.

According to police, Stefanik took off from RICONN Airport, just over the state line into Rhode Island, and was heading back for a landing when he crashed into a wooded area adjacent to the airport.

Via Google Maps

Local fire and State police were on the scene.

Stefanik was reported as alert and conscious on the scene and was initially transported to Backus Hospital for treatment of severe injuries and burns.

He was then transported via Lifestar to another hospital in Rhode Island, where he later died.

Investigators are trying to figure out what went wrong.

This is an ongoing story. Stay tuned to for updates.