Race car driver dies after street accident

Hilary Smith

A young Seneca County man who was just beginning to make his mark on the local stock-car racing scene died on Sunday, just months after winning his first major racing event at the Canandaigua Speedway.

Rodney L. Comfort Jr., 20, of Waterloo suffered a severe head injury in a motorcycle accident Saturday evening, when he allegedly struck a pedestrian while driving eastbound on Lakeshore Drive in Waterloo, according to the Seneca County Sheriff's Office. The pedestrian was treated at Strong Memorial Hospital and released, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Comfort was first taken to Geneva General Hospital then transferred to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, where he passed away Sunday afternoon, deputies said.

Comfort had won the third race of the 2007 season in the PureStox street stock division, on May 12 at Canandaigua Speedway in Hopewell. It was his first feature win, according to Tom Skibinski, public relations director for DIRTcar Racing NorthEast.

"This is very hard to believe," said Jeff Farney, race director at the speedway. Racing had been a family affair for Comfort — Farney recalled that the young driver had been racing alongside his father, Rod Comfort Sr., for several years.

"He certainly was an up-and-comer. It seemed as though he was improving with every event," said Farney. "He was an excellent young man, and we were very proud to have him as a competitor at the Canandaigua Speedway," he said.

Hilary Smith can be reached at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 343, or at

hsmith@mpnewspapers.com.