He’ll probably continue to wear the black hat

April 8, 2014 10 Comments

2014QRLogoSteven DeLonjay has reached the point in his career where, despite being only 22, he is no longer the The Kid with the great future. Five track championships, including three in a modified, will do that for — or to — a guy.

DeLonjay has, to some, evolved from The Kid to The Villain. Not necessarily your Tony Dunker type of villain, but a “bad guy” just the same. And he’s not quite sure how he got there. The son of Quincy Raceways Hall of Famer Hank DeLonjay has won so often in recent years he has become the driver fans of his challengers want to see lose the most. From Mark Burgtorf to Jeff Gordon, just about any racer with any amount of above-average success has experienced it. Some of the cheers eventually turn to boos — only to eventually reverse that pattern later in their careers.

Steven DeLonjay

Steven DeLonjay

Dunker’s black hat has been earned in part not only by his abundance of victories in the sport mods, but also by his willingness to take on his critics in different outlets — including this blog. DeLonjay’s black hat has also been earned in part through not only all of his victories, but a willingness to mix it up in the corners if the need arises. But where DeLonjay and Dunker differ is how they answer their critics. The Dunk relishes confrontations, while DeLonjay prefers to stay to himself.

DeLonjay, a senior at Western Illinois University studying to be a child psychologist, just shakes his head when asked why he has become such a lightning rod for controversy the past couple of seasons.

“Anyone who knows me knows I’m one of the most nonchalant guys around,” DeLonjay said.

Steven and Hank DeLonjay, during the early days of Steven's modified career.

Steven and Hank DeLonjay, during the early days of Steven’s modified career.

Never once has he responded to his naysayers on this blog, and that probably won’t be changing.

“I’m just trying to keep my focus on winning races,” he said.

That’s probably bad news for the competition. It also probably means the black hat will continue to be attached to his racing helmet for a while longer.

Another item that won’t be changing is the presence of his dad in the pits.

“Dad is amazing,” Steven said. “He spends more man hours in the garage than I do. I can never thank him enough. He’s the one working on the car when I’m at school, he’s just amazing.”

Between father and son, the DeLonjays have won 18 track titles in four different classes.

Don’t be surprised if No. 19 comes this season when Steven goes for a fourth straight modified championship. The only other modified driver to turn that trick in the past 39 years of racing at 8000 Broadway is his dad.

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  1. Zero says:

    I would say this is one of the reasons why Steven has had the great success in his career at such a early stage and age. He doesn’t give the haters a chance to get under his skin and just lets it roll off his shoulders by showing respect and good sportsmanship as a true racer and staying focus. The Ump modifieds is one of most competitive classes to race in due to some of most head to head hard charging competition there is on a weekly basis. Steven has showing how to handling that competition week after week, but I’m sure it has not been a easy task for him.

    Thinking of what you said Steve about how Dunker is up front and personal with fans and the not so Dunker fans on your site. I say if Dunker had the took some of emotional skills as what Steven has and would stop worrying about what other people think and say about him. He would probably be surprise of the amount of mental energy and stress he is spending on defending his self character, of what people are saying about him. He would probably have much more confidence and wellness in stepping up to the plate to a higher class that would give him much more a challenge to exceed his driving abilities. No Mr. Dunker I’m not (hating) on you or (bashing you) or trying to get on a nerve for any reasons at all on the fact that you are still racing sportsmods and pretty much winning every week. I will give you CREDIT you have won some races and some track titles that you have earned honestly. I’m just saying what if Dunker did move to Ump modified class and challenge his skills every week against some more tougher competition and some of best ump modified drivers in the Midwest. Like 18L, 05, 35. This higher challenge would do nothing, but (better) Dunker and make the Ump modified class much more exciting for the fans. I don’t know and don’t care, what Dunker financial status is either. All I’m saying if he did take some of this negative energy and he worries about what people are thinking and saying of him and make the move if he has the money to move up to Ump modifieds, what would the excitement be like. Could us Fans even realize the much more added excitement it would bring. We all know that no racer likes to come in second and I’m sure Dunker has a strong desire not to lose and he would have to have a whole different (mind set) of (winning every week) if this was to come all true and wouldn’t have (time) to think about what people are saying (negative) about him. Just picture (#35, 18L, 05, 16, 33, Dunker #4)and throwing in any outside hot shoe in the picture. What a show that would be week after week. Think about it Fans. Please Dunker don’t take any of this personal or negative, because its not meant that way. It could help.

  2. showstopper says:

    Great post Zero, but I doubt you will see Dunker move up. He will keep cherry pickin. All the wins feed his over sized ego. I have to admit, I am not a 35 fan, but will give him credit for his focus. Not so much for his dirty driving. Anybody figure out when on a dryslick track the 35 motor sounds as if it’s on 5 cylinders when coming out of the corners? I imagine the new tech man has an idea. If not he should google “traction control”.

  3. Haha says:

    I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with zeros comment, however, I’ve watched dunker race three times this year and I think third was all he could manage. He isn’t winning at will and does race against some competition… Just gotta get away from quincy to see it.. And no I’m not a team 3 lover or fan I’m actually quite the opposite…

  4. KENNY PRATT says:

    Damn er Bone. looks like lil kp’s Lizard has three relativesicking on you. Zero, showstopper and haha……

    well at least team pratt is getting a break from the idiot’s.

    oh, and if all four of them show up where i stand at the speedway i hope Doug Meeley says “security to the tower”………

    Kenny Pratt

  5. Zero says:

    I’m sorry Mr. Pratt that you have such a (negative) out look on things. By (intelligent) comment you made and calling everyone a idiot speaks for your own personal character you have. I’m sorry you feel the way you do. It must be hard being you.

  6. Kenny Pratt says:

    If you had lizard talking about you and your family the way he/she does mine im sure you would a few choice words too…….

    KP SR
    217 430 1061

  7. Jeff Broeg says:

    I finally had the pleasure of meeting Tony Dunker and shaking his hand at Donnellson Saturday night. Great racer, a true hard charger and is ready to help out fellow competitors and young drivers as needed. Like Steven, the main reason that they wear the “black hat” is becuase they win and do it often.

    Wish I could earn a black hat….


    SEVEN WORDS………..





  9. GMF says:

    Ya know i hear all the ladies love a bad boy…. to all the villains out there keep up the great work, we’re cheering for you!!!

  10. LK says:

    I like the black hat fellows. They’re actually pretty nice guys & talented to boot


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