Legendary Canadian NHRA Funny Car driver, "240 Gordie" Bonin passed away on Friday (US time); he was just 65 years old.
Runner-up in the 1977 NHRA Winston World Championship, Bonin became famous for driving the Pacemaker Vega and Bubble Up Trans Am Funny Cars having burst onto the scene with a US Nationals runner-up in 1972.
Bonin and fellow Canadians, Ron Hodgson and Gordon Jenner were partners in the cars through to the end of 1979, with tuner Jerry Verhuel joining the team in 1975.
Together they won the Funny Car title at the 25th anniversary US Nationals in 1979, becoming just the fourth members of the Cragar 5-Second Club.
A consistent performer at over 240mph, Bonin was not the first Funny Car driver to break the mark, Don Prudhomme was, so when asked why the '240 Gordie' nickname he replied "240 Don didn't rhyme".
Bonin took a six-year absence from driving (1983 – 1989), serving as the NHRA's director of marketing and marketing services manager, but then reunited with Hodgson and Jenner and won the AHRA Top Fuel World Championship.
He returned to Funny Cars to drive the Hawaiian Vacations Dodge for the legendary Roland Leong in 1993, then drove the Smokin' Joes Funny Car for Candies & Hughes the next two seasons, winning twice.
Bonin won nine NHRA National Events in total. Along with Hodgson and Jenner, he was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall Of Fame in 2000.
The NHRA reported a post on Bonin's Facebook page said he had been admitted to a Las Vegas hospital suffering from heat-stroke symptoms recently, but was released. His body was found at a local hotel early Friday evening.