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Brett Hearn Inducted Into EMPA Hall of Fame, Set For DIRTcar Nationals Return

Brett Hearn at Super DIRT Week
The Sussex, NJ driver returns to Super DIRTcar Series action at Volusia Speedway Park, Feb. 14-17

At 65 years old, Brett Hearn isn’t done collecting accolades and he isn’t done racing.

A month before heading south to compete with the Super DIRTcar Series during Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals (Feb. 14-17), Hearn was inducted into the Eastern Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame. Already in the Northeast Dirt Motorsports Hall of Fame. It’s another accolade honoring his historic career, which includes multiple championship and 920 Feature wins – 141 with the Super DIRTcar Series.

“It’s really a big honor from the Eastern Motorsports Press Association to be recognized by them and see a lot of people I’ve known throughout my career like writers, photographers, other racers,” Hearn said. “I think we have the utmost respect for each other. When you’re racing against these guys, there’s a little bit of ego involved. There’s a lot of competitive spirit involved. 

“But now that we’ve gotten to this point in our lives, relationships change a little bit since it’s not about that dog-eat-dog mentality. It’s more like, man, that’s pretty cool what we did.”

After racing part-time over the past few seasons, Hearn said he’s had more time to reflect on his triumphs.

 “I always said when we were in the heat of the battle, we never got to really enjoy the successes that we had because it was always a concern about the next race,” Hearn said. “But after having a couple of years to think about it, it’s been enjoyable to reflect on it a little bit and hear the comments from people that miss us not being in the heat of the battle all of the time.

Hearn plans to run a part-time schedule in 2024 with Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park his first stop. He’s found success at Volusia in the past with 10 Super DIRTcar Series wins at “The World’s Fastest Half Mile” – tied with Stewart Friesen for most all-time.

“Volusia is always fun,” Hearn said. “It’s always nice to be at a venue multiple nights in a row. It’s a lot of work, and sometimes, when you lock yourself in at the beginning of the week, the week just goes by in a blur because you’re working all day and racing all night.”

While Hearn’s familiarity with the Florida venue may give him an edge, there are still challenges he must endure. With his part-time schedule over the past few seasons, the technical side of a Big Block Modified continues to evolve.

Brett Hearn celebrates a victory at The Dirt Track at Charlotte
Brett Hearn celebrates his latest victory at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in 2021/Chris Owens photo

With those challenges, he said he knows the best roadmap to success.

“When I get in the car, it always seems natural,” Hearn said. “You’re obviously much better when you run a whole bunch of races, not only from a driver’s standpoint but from a technical standpoint as well. I think the technical side of things and being removed from it is actually tougher than the driving part.

“The cast of characters is basically the same. I don’t really expect anything too different. Right now, everyone is very equal and very tough. It’s going to be a big emphasis on qualifying and how fast we come off the trailer. So, I know the challenges, and we just have to execute.”

Brett Hearn
Brett Hearn practices at Super DIRT Week 51/Brent Smith photo

Despite the challenges, Hearn is set to pilot his Gary Miller-owned #20 with help from Madsen Motorsports. And ready to try and add another accomplishment to his Hall of Fame career.

“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Hearn said. “The last time we were there, we had a decent car. I’m focused on trying to get down there and being ready.”

Hearn and the Super DIRTcar Series begin the 2024 season at Volusia Speedway Park during Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals, Feb. 14-17. For tickets, visit dirtcarnationals.com.

If you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action live on DIRTVision, either online or with the DIRTVision app.