2021 Lincoln Sprints 06 19 Devon Borden Brandon Rahmer Battle Dan Demarco Photo
Devon Borden (27) races Brandon Rahmer at Lincoln Speedway last weekend. (Dan Demarco photo)

Heffner Tabs Borden To Drive No. 27 Sprint Car

The deal between Borden and Heffner was for three races. If Borden performed well, the option was there for more, and he didn’t disappoint.

Runs of fifth at Williams Grove, seventh at Lincoln and third at Path Valley Speedway Park were enough to turn the heads of team members and drivers alike, and the choice was clear: Borden was sticking around.

“I did not expect things to go as well as they did,” admitted Heffner. “Typically, it takes drivers years to adapt to the type of racing that we have here in Pennsylvania, but Devon … we call him ‘Daredevil’ around the shop now because he just isn’t afraid to get after it.

“That’s what it takes around here, and he’s picked up on that very quickly.”

With momentum in his corner and a host of summer racing ahead of him, Borden said the biggest challenge will be keeping his expectations manageable and knowing he likely won’t get everything he wants out of his new situation in the first few weeks — particularly during PA Speedweek, which begins Friday at Williams Grove.

“Long-term, I knew that this is what I wanted to do and this is what I’ve worked for my entire life,” said Borden of racing for a living. “I’ve sacrificed the time, my dad has sacrificed a ton, and together, we’ve just been hoping I’d get this kind of an opportunity at some point. Did I know it was going to happen this year? No, I didn’t, but I sure was hoping it would.

“I don’t know that we can go in thinking we’re going to light the world on fire, but I feel like if we can keep doing what we’re doing and I can take care of the car, we should be able to run solid pretty quickly.”

Heffner is keeping his expectations lower as well, despite Borden’s fast adaptation to the Pennsylvania sprint car scene. He doesn’t want to put any undue pressure on his new driver’s shoulders, especially because he sees long-term potential with Borden as a part of his race team.

“I think it’s well within the realm of possibility,” said Heffner when asked if he feels Borden could become a long-term fixture with his organization. “It’s way too early to speculate and I certainly don’t want to put much pressure on him. I know that’s the key, because psychologically, I think he is already mentally fit when it comes to this sport. He knows his limits and he’s not going out there trying to impress people. He’s already impressed me. I told him he doesn’t have to impress me anymore. I’m sold. 

“He’s going to go out there and give 150 percent every night, not only because he’s a young kid, but that is how motivated he is to do well. And I really like that about a driver and think it will bode well for us.”

Heffner also said one more thing will likely be different going forward as well — his car number.

The Heffner Racing Enterprises sprinter, which was rewrapped and numbered to its original No. 27 for the late Greg Hodnett’s recent induction into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, carried that same scheme for Borden’s debut with the team last weekend.

Heffner said he expects the car to stay that way, at least for now, as he forges ahead amid a fresh start.

“Out of respect to Greg, I changed the number after he passed … but I’ve just had a good feeling about this ever since we changed it back, both in myself and from fans and sponsors,” Heffner said of the familiar No. 27. “I realized, I think, that I missed having it on there, in some ways.

“You’ll see it during Speedweek, for sure, but I think going forward it may just be the (No.) 27 again,” he added. “It may be time, with a new driver and all.”