HODGE TO BE HONORED
AT THOMPSON'S ICEBREAKER
January, within four days the Northeast Modified
racing community lost two pioneers. Photographer,
Howie Hodge, and Modified legend, Leo “The Lion”
Cleary, both passed away. At this weekend’s
Icebreaker, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park
Officials have announced that they will honor the
memory of both men, inviting their families’ as
Howie Hodge, who has been a photographer on the
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, as well as other NASCAR
regional touring series, has also frequented the
infields of short tracks throughout the country, but
most consistently in his home state of Connecticut.
For nearly 50 years, Howie shared his passion for
motorsports photography with his wife, Mary. The two
were married for 53 years, and spent 50 of those
years providing the motorsports community with many
memories, memorializing – through photo – some of
the sport’s iconic events and moments.
Mary, along with her son, Kevin, will be on hand to
honor Howie’s late memory during pre-race ceremonies
on Sunday afternoon, April 2. Also, Kevin Hodge will
act as the Honorary Starter for the 150-lap NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour race.
Three short days after Hodge’s passing, Leo Cleary
passed away. Known for being an cagey and aggressive
driver, Cleary earned the nickname of “The Lion.” He
was fearless, and raced as often as he could,
frequenting tracks throughout the northeast. Cleary
etched his name indelibly into the Thompson Speedway
Motorsports Park record books in 1967, winning a
Cleary’s sons will be on hand on Sunday to honor
their late father’s memory, and they will also give
the command to start engines for the Sunoco Modified
30-lap main event.
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Officials invite
friends, family, and fans to join them in honoring
these two pioneers, reflecting on the great
contributions that they have made to the Northeast
Modified racing community.
For more information on the Icebreaker, which is
scheduled for Friday, March 31 – Sunday, April 2,
please visit thompsonspeedway.com, or follow their
social media channels.
Jeffrey Price /
March 29, 2017