Column By: JIM CLARKE – KINGSTON, ONT – From the very early stages of his life, Tim Hegarty has been involved in racing. His grandfather Lawrence Craven was the original owner of Kingston Speedway and by the time the track ceased operation in 1976, the 55-year-old Limestone City resident’s entire family was working behind the scenes at the Friday night fixture on McAdoo’s Lane.
In recent years, Hegarty – who has worked as a licensed broker with Shaw Insurance in Kingston for nearly 25 years – has been racing vintage modified dirt stock cars. In 2019, he ran on the Dirt Modified Nostalgia Tour with a 2004 Bicknell chassis carrying a 1975 Vega body, built by Paul Pekkonen. The car carries #40, in tribute to Dirt Motorsports Hall of Fame driver Ovide Doiron. The local racing enthusiast says enjoys the fact that the DMNT group runs many of the sport’s storied racing venues.
“We’re lucky to visit some amazing facilities during the season; including a date at Granby in Quebec this year,” Tim Hegarty said. “Of all the tracks the series runs, my favourite would have to be Can Am Speedway. I’ve spent a lot of time there as a fan and getting the chance to race its wide, smooth layout is very exciting. I hear Tyler Bartlett and his team will be shortening the track for 2020, so we’ll have to see what its like when we’re back there in September.”
A life-long regional racing cheerleader, Tim Hegarty has contributed over 1000 photos from his personal collection to the Eastern Ontario Stock Car Racing Facebook group and along with the late Craig Revelle created the Speedway Nostalgia web-site. In 2007, Hegarty worked with his brother Chris and their friend Rob Clark – a former Kingston Speedway racer – to put together the idea for a track reunion. Staged in conjunction with the Odessa Car Show and Flea Market, they were expecting maybe 500 attendees but saw about 2000 people – including hall of fame drivers and owners – come through the turnstiles during the weekend.
“There is a special bond that exists between the drivers, race teams and the fans. Its almost like a sponsorship,” according to Hegarty, who has scored more than a handful of main event wins in his driving career and earned the 2017 and 2018 Nostalgia Division championship in his authentic 1939 vintage coupe. “I have some good runs and made a lot of friends during my time in the sport, which is pretty good for someone who had never turned a racing lap before the 2011 season.”
For the 2020 season, Tim Hegarty’s program will once again be supported by Shaw Insurance, CSN Collision Centre – Kingston, Greenshield Pest Control, Nautical Canvas and Get Smart Storage. The racer says all of his sponsors are operated by small, independent business owners who contribute greatly to the Kingston community.
“My biggest thanks go out to my 19-year-old son Ryan,” said Hegarty. “He travels to all the races with me and is a master at getting the car prepared. Above that, he’s always the first to step-up and help a fellow racer in a time of need. I’ll likely be putting him in the car a little more often in the years to come.”
Family, fans and friends can follow Tim Hegarty’s #40 Vega on the Dirt Modified Nostalgia Tour throughout the upcoming season.