No. 4: After 13 titles, 'Hank the Crank' knew when to step away
(The most important events, individuals and decisions from the last 10 years at Quincy Raceways)
One of the things I admire the most about Hank DeLonjay and his racing career was how he went out. He retired while still at the top of his game. So many of our favorite sports stars have to be dragged off the field, court or track, never knowing when to step away.
Remember Richard Petty's final years in NASCAR? Those were sad. Or how about Michael Jordan finishing up his playing days with the Washington Wizards? That was a crime.
"Hank the Crank" went out on his own terms. He wanted to oversee the driving career of another DeLonjay — his son, Steven, who at 16 years old nearly won the 2008 modified track championship in his rookie season. He finished a close third behind Michael Long and Tony Dunker.
When Hank called it a career after 2007, he took with him 13 track championships, including 10 in the modified division. It would have been 11 if not for Robbie Reed's miracle run down the stretch in 2006.
Hank also won three titles in the old sportsman division, where he was rookie of the year in 1977. Thirty seasons after winning that first award he pulled into the pits for the final time at Quincy Raceways as a driver, but he's still there every Sunday night — with Steven.