Longtime Northeast Racing Photographer Howie Hodge Passes

Howie Hodge (Photo: Brenda Meserve)

The Northeast short track racing scene lost a giant and cornerstone figure of the sport on Saturday.

Howie Hodge, a fixture as a photographer documenting racing across the country and primarily at Connecticut short tracks, passed away Saturday.

Hodge was 77.

Hodge’s decades in the pits, at tracks across New England almost always with his wife Mary by his side shooting with him, made him known and virtually beloved by all around the sport.

“Twenty years from now that’s where people will look to tell the history of the decades that Howie worked,” longtime New England racing historian, journalist and public relations representative Peter Zanardi said. “He’s the guy. He was the rock. He’s the guy that when you need a picture from Stafford in 1987, that’s how you’d go to. … When you figured how many photos he took and sent to a plethora, a literal plethora of media outlets. … It’s amazing.

“One of the things that always impressed me about people is how some come to understand the role they’re playing. With Howie, I don’t know when he became aware of the role he was playing in our sport, but when he did, he understood it completely.”

Hodge and his wife were inducted in the Eastern Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame on Jan. 7.

“I’m totally flabbergasted by this,” Hodge said that night. “It’s beyond my belief that doing what we enjoy and love so much for so many years, to get an honor like this.”

“He has captured decades of the history of New England auto racing with his photography,” longtime motorsports journalist Dick Berggren said. “His contribution is beyond measure. We know history by pictures and he took great ones.”

In a sport where some level of ego seemed to be carried by all, whether it be the athletes, crew members or even media and officials, Hodge forever proved one of the most modest figures despite his legendary status.

“As a public relations guy, when I was at Stafford [Motor Speedway] and later [the New London-Waterford Speedbow], it was always such a great thing to have him there because you knew he was going to cause no problems,” Zanardi said. “Some photographers came in making this demand this and that demand and wanted you to do all kinds of things for them. All Howie ever wanted was access.”

Hodge is survived by his wife Mary and son Kevin.

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Comments

  1. Eric LaFleche says:

    Howie was THE staple for us photographers to talk to for advice or any other issue you may be having pertaining to picture taking. He will be greatly missed. Godspeed!

  2. RIP Howie!! Going to be missed

  3. David Meredith says:

    Hall Of Famer.

  4. Wow, what terrible news. Howie and Mary were always a fixture at the tour races. Salt of the earth folks. Condolences to Mary and Kevin. RIP Howie, thanks for the memories.

  5. janice pennink says:

    Howie,you will be so missed. Your smile and kindness was contagious. Mary we love you, sending our love.

  6. wmass01013 says:

    OMG My Deepest Sympathy to Mary and entire Hodge families, a GREAT PHTOG AND MAN, just saw both in a local store couple weeks ago complete shock!!!!

  7. Speechless… shocked… heartbroke…

    In today’s world that is so driven by social media… as we thumb through our news feeds, you realize just how many Howie has touched through his life. A heartbreaking day for the racing community. Keeping Kevin & Mary in our thoughts and prayers

  8. Bill Boulay says:

    Wow just purely shocked Howie was just always there somebody I always expected to be there forever. A man I admired greatly both for whom he was as a person and for the great job he did for our sport! My deepest sympathy go out to Mary and Kevin you are in my prayers!!!

  9. darealgoodfella says:

    Oh dear. Seeing Howe Hodge with just about every Modified racing photo was like a security blanket.

    Condolences to his family.

    Peace.

  10. Sharon Skurka says:

    Words are not enough. I’m going to look through all my pictures and remember the good times we had.RIP Howie your in good company

  11. Tom McElligott says:

    So sad, great man who took some great pictures. Met him quite a few times..Will be missed. Prayers to the family

  12. Mike Slattery says:

    So sad hearing this. Howie was one of the best race photographers ever and a great man.

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