Cen­tral Pa. tracks re­tir­ing late Hod­nett’s num­ber

The Southern Berks News - - SPORTS - By Ernie Sax­ton

Re­tir­ing a num­ber is most of­ten re­served for all­time greats. Other times, it’s a trib­ute to an icon whose ca­reer was cut short.

Greg Hod­nett, sprint car icon, was 49 when he lost his life in a crash at BAPS Mo­tor Speed­way in late Septem­ber.

Hod­nett had a lus­trous ca­reer driv­ing sev­eral car num­bers dur­ing his time, but his last num­ber he ever drove was the No. 27 owned by Mike Heffner and Heffner Rac­ing En­ter­prises.

“It’s not any more spe­cial than any of the other num­bers Greg drove but it’s the last num­ber,” said Heffner. “Any­one cur­rently us­ing the num­ber it doesn’t af­fect but here on out, the num­ber 27 will be re­tired not only by our team but all of Cen­tral Penn­syl­va­nia’s 410 tracks. We’re do­ing this in honor of Greg.”

“I think it’s a spe­cial thing,” Heffner said. “Know­ing that we’re rec­og­niz­ing the great­ness and ef­forts of Greg by re­tir­ing his num­ber is an honor to re­mem­ber him for­ever. We will al­ways re­mem­ber Greg but it’s im­por­tant that the fol­low­ing gen­er­a­tions also hear about him, learn about him and re­al­ize what he stood for.”

Hod­nett was well spo­ken, he was per­son­able, and he was un­selfish. He was the driver all tracks wanted to rep­re­sent the sport.

Hod­nett had a way with peo­ple and pro­mot­ers. When an is­sue came up in the sport, he al­ways put him­self se­cond. His opin­ion was for the greater good of sprint car rac­ing.

“Wil­liams Grove feels re­tir­ing a driv­ers’ car num­ber is of­ten re­served for ex­cep­tional driv­ers and other times it’s a trib­ute to a driver whose ca­reer is cut short be­cause of ill­ness or death,” said Wil­liams Grove Speed­way pro­moter, Justin Loh. “In this sit­u­a­tion it is both. The num­ber 27 is the sym­bol of a win­ner and we are hon­ored to be a part of re­tir­ing the num­ber 27 along with the other lo­cal speed­ways.”

Hod­nett had a Hall of Fame ca­reer that fea­tured over 250 wins, 20 of which came against the World of Out­laws. There were track cham­pi­onships — five came at Wil­liams Grove Speed­way — and five Speed Week ti­tles, the last of which came this past sea­son.

If there was big money on the line, Hod­nett was al­ways near the front.

The No. 27 will now be re­tired across Cen­tral Penn­syl­va­nia to help keep Hod­nett’s legacy alive for decades to come.

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