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Washington sprint car racer Devon Borden has found a home in Pennsylvania. (Paul Arch photo)

Borden: From Washington To The PA Posse

Central Pennsylvania has a rich and storied history of sprint car racing. The region’s numerous dirt tracks have long showcased a plethora of home-state talent, ranging from Tommy Hinnershitz and Lynn Paxton, to Lance Dewease and Don Kreitz Jr., to relative newcomers Freddie Rahmer and Brent Marks.

Sprint car drivers who race primarily in the Keystone State are recognized as members of the PA Posse. Devon Borden, a 21-year-old wheelman from the small community of Raymond, Wash., is one of that group’s newest members.

“It was just a matter of trying to make it more than anything,” Borden told SPEED SPORT about his cross-country move. “Obviously, I knew that Pennsylvania was the place to be, to have any shot of really getting on the map and getting into the 410s. I felt like it was the best place to make it happen.

“Kind of came here without a lot of stuff. Just with the goal of trying to find a ride. It was only a matter of, I think, six races or so, and we were able to make that happen,” Borden continued. “It was just a lot of hard work and, I guess, a lot of believing in yourself that you can do it.”

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Devon Borden in action at Pennsylvania’s Port Royal Speedway. (Paul Arch photo)

With current sprint car stars such as Kyle Larson, Carson Macedo, Gio Scelzi and Rico Abreu having cut their teeth in northern California, why move to Pennsylvania when there’s plenty of sprint car racing on the West Coast?

Borden believes there’s an added layer of respect that accompanies success on the Pennsylvania tracks.

“There are so many tracks that are so close together. I feel like Pennsylvania has the big names, Williams Grove, Port Royal. All the tracks have a lot of name recognition, and I feel like everyone has a lot of respect for them,” Borden said. “Out in California, I feel like the competition is very tough, but I feel like you don’t get that respect that you do back here.

“I was just trying to get on the map, was trying to get eyes on me and try to get noticed. Luckily, it all worked out.”

Upon his arrival in Pennsylvania, Borden caught the attention of a prominent car owners. Mike Heffner, owner of Heffner Racing Enterprises, selected Borden to wheel the famed No. 27 sprint car in June 2021. It’s a car once handled by another out-of-state Posse driver, the late Greg Hodnett.

Borden scored his maiden Williams Grove Speedway triumph two months later at age 18, holding off Dewease for the victory.

The young racer from Washington was on the map.

Borden is now teamed with Shuttlesworth-Stehman Racing aboard the No. 23 machine.

This season was a breakout year for Borden, who tallied seven victories. He attributes the success to team chemistry.

“I’ve watched a lot of videos and a lot of film. Jim Shuttlesworth has been a big part of my success and this whole Shuttlesworth-Stehman Racing team,” Borden said. “My guys work super hard, and a big part of it is just having a good team behind you.

“I definitely have that, and honestly, that’s probably more of it than anything.”

What lies ahead for Borden remains an open book.

“More than anything, I just want to get out and travel more,” he said. “Hit some of those tracks like Knoxville, Eldora, some places in Ohio. That’s what I want to do more than anything, because I feel like after running them, I’m gonna grow as a driver.

“So whatever it takes to do that, I’d say is my main goal. But I do really like Pennsylvania and I’d like to call this place home.”

As Borden reflects on his time in central Pennsylvania, he chooses to focus on improving instead of revisiting the challenges of the past.

“You really got to take it night by night. It’s not easy,” Borden admitted. “I feel like there’s usually a lot more lows than there are highs in this deal. It’s all about just trying to improve on those and get better and improve so you can have more highs.

“It’s not easy, but you just got to keep working at it. That’s exactly what we’ve done. I think you’ve seen the improvement in me, especially this year. This year, I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better than I’ve been in years,” Borden continued. “It’s just a lot of hard work.”


This story appeared in the Oct 18, 2023 edition of the SPEED SPORT Insider.

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