Hettinga just glad to be back racing

Talk about making a statement.
That’s exactly what John Hettinga has been doing since the beginning of the season at the Emo Speedway.
After winning the season points championship in the Street Stock division last year, Hettinga decided to move to the Midwest Modifieds (Mod-B) side of things.
And he already looks like a seasoned veteran.
Hettinga currently leads the Mod-B division with 210 points in four nights of racing, followed by Bill Witherspoon in second (205) and Kendal Gamsby (197).
And though that may be surprising, what’s even more jaw-dropping is that he’s tied for third place, along with Jake Kamm, in the Mod-A division—just eight points behind leader Joey Galloway (Jamie Davis is in second place with 199 points).
“It’s still a work in progress,” Hettinga said modestly. “But give me another five years.”
That’s a scary thought for the other drivers.
Can you imagine what kind of a racer Hettinga could have been had he kept with the sport since he first arrived at the Emo Speedway in 1996?
Hettinga joined on with the Street class and did that for four years, but a new business and a family left him having to align his priorities.
Did you find you were spending too much time on racing and just spreading yourself too thin for other things?
“You’re starting to sound like my wife,” the 46-year-old said with a smile on his birthday Friday night before looking up to the sky to watch the Canada Day fireworks.
When Hettinga departed in 2000, he had to completely leave the racing scene because any sniff of it would have sent him crawling back.
“I had to stay right away from it,” he admitted.
But it seems he made the right choice. His business, Hettinga Mechanical, is doing well. His family is a happy one. And, of course, he’s racing again.
“I enjoy every part of it. I just enjoy racing, and I really enjoy winning,” he remarked.
What’s made racing more enjoyable is having his son, Daniel, 20, help out with the car. Having his wife, Grace, of 25 years, and two daughters, Sarah, 18, and Rachel, 15, watch him race also has made his return that much more rewarding.
But why the switch from the Streets to the Mod-B?
“I really enjoy working on the car, and it gives you a lot more opportunity to do that,” replied Hettinga, who claimed both the Mod-A and Mod-B feature races a few weeks ago.
“And it’s a step up, and it’s a bit more competitive,” he added.
And you race in the Mod-A field, so can we expect a switch to that class then?
“I race in the Mod-A just for the seat time,” noted Hettinga. “With the Mod-A’s, those guys are really serious racers and they live to race.”
And for a guy who spends “20 hours a week on the car, but I would like to spend 100 hours,” that’s saying a lot.
Spending 100 hours a week is unfeasible, but Hettinga is content with where he is now—behind the wheel of a race car.

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