Wish Granted: Howie Hodge Tribute To Pay $2,480 To Leader Of Lap 80 At Whelen Mod Tour Oswego Event

Mary and Howie Hodge (Photo: Kim Woodward)

Submitted by Fran Lawlor and Carol D. Haynes

The upcoming Whelen Toyota Mod Classic 150 presented by McDonalds at Oswego Speedway marks what would have been legendary Motorsports photographer Howie Hodge’s 80th Birthday.

Just after Christmas of 2018, his wife Mary expressed her wishes to Carol Haynes and myself (Fran Lawlor)  to honor this occasion with a bonus for the leader of lap 80 at the Oswego Speedway Toyota Mod Classic 150 presented by McDonalds on  Saturday, Aug. 31.

When we lost Mary in February 2019, Carol and I took it upon ourselves to continue this tribute for Mary, working with NASCAR and the Oswego Speedway as to whether it was possible, and when all was set there, the next thing was to raise some money to give.

So a GoFundMe page was set up, in order to allow Howie’s many, many friends a chance to participate by donating money to honor Mary’s wishes while keeping the memory of Howie alive on this day. Mary wanted it to be $800, for the 80th lap, on his 80th birthday. Her wish was more than granted!

On August 18th, the page was closed, and in the short time it was opened, the amount raised exceeded all expectations. Just prior to the close, Kevin Hodge, son of Howie and Mary, made the last donation assuring that the figure would end in 80 for Howie’s birthday. The total amount that will now be presented to the leader of lap 80 at the 4th annual NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Toyota “Bud Mod Classic 150” presented by McDonalds amounts to an astonishing $2480. 

What a great, great tribute to a man who dedicated his life to motorsports photography, especially to the modified division, and to his wife to suggest the idea.

Words cannot express what this means to us that so many people took the time not only to donate, but to also leave kind words as to what Howie meant to them.  As most who knew Howie and Mary knew they spent most of their long marriage together traveling and preserving auto racing in photos. We are forever grateful for their dedication. 

Thanks ever so much for letting us grant Mary a final wish!

Fran Lawlor and Carol D. Haynes


  1. wmass01013 says

    WOW, such a great tribute to 2 awesome people who loved local auto racing and did an outstanding job covering races for decades in photos.
    Thank you CAROL AND FRAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. What a great way to remember Howie and Mary Hodge. $2480 to the leader of lap 80 should make for great racing. Nobody’s gonna have the ride around and save my stuff attitude with that much money on the line. Hope it’s a team that needs the money, as it would make this an even greater story. Good luck to all the teams.

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