Keystone Careers: Sprint-Car Racers Find New Home In Pennsylvania

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It’s nothing new. For years, sprint-car drivers have traveled to Pennsylvania in search of good rides and plenty of opportunities.

The trend continues today as four former World of Outlaws regulars are currently racing as members of the Pennsylvania Posse.

Greg Hodnett, formerly of Memphis, Tenn., and the 1993 World of Outlaws rookie of the year, has been a member of the Pennsylvania Posse the longest. Except for one year back on the road in 2000, Hodnett has been racing in Pennsylvania since 1998.

“There’s only one area in the country where you can race for a living and race enough to sustain a living,” Hodnett said. “There are a lot of other places you can race, but unfortunately they don’t race as much or for as nice of purses.

“When you look at the financial aspects of whatever regions you have available to you, if you’re not going to travel, this by far has the most races for the most money,” Hodnett said.

He was quick to point out the competition level.

“Just because you come here and race every day doesn’t mean you’re going to make as much money,” Hodnett said. “It’s kind of a crapshoot. If you’re not going to be out there, I’d say as far as opportunity and the number of races you can race for good purses, this would be the place to go.”

Ride swapping brought Hodnett to Pennsylvania in 1998.

“I was released from the Selma Shell car and they wanted to pick up Tim Shaffer, who was racing the Apple car.”

Hodnett left in 2000 to race for Guy Forbrook, but returned to the Bob Stewart-owned “Apple car” in 2001. He later drove Al Hamilton’s famous No. 77 before moving to his current ride in Jim and Sandy Kline’s No. 22.

“Being out there is great if things are clicking and you’re doing well,” Hodnett said. “It’s also very expensive to be out there. There are a lot of parameters you have to look at other than being able to make more money per night. It also costs you more money per night to be there.”

Among his accomplishments are 45 Williams Grove victories, which ranks fifth all-time.

“When I’ve been with Lee (Stauffer), the cars averaged around $200,000 a year locally, and you don’t have to travel and you don’t have to be in a hotel every night. A lot of times we’re in the top five people in the country for car earnings.”