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Bell Township Man's Race car And Hearse Make Memorial Victory Lap At Lernerville Speedway

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Bell Township man’s race car and hearse make memorial victory lap at Lernerville Speedway

Mary Ann Thomas
MARY ANN THOMAS   | Wednesday, July 29, 2020 5:00 p.m.
David Hawkins, holding grandson Maverick Hawkins, waves a checkered flag for his deceased son Brandon Hawkins at Lernerville Speedway on Wednesday. A hearse carried Brandon Hawkins as Scott Hawkins drove his brother’s sprint car for a final lap.
Brandon Hawkins

The crowd of about 150 people at Lernerville Speedway on Wednesday afternoon was quiet until the roar of the sprint car owned by the late “B-Dog” Hawkins brought applause and tears.

A popular local race car driver, Brandon D. “B-Dog” Hawkins, 26, of Bell Township, was a union laborer who recently died on the job. The Hawkins family, longtime racing fans, arranged for a victory lap at Lernerville for Hawkins’ car and Hawkins, himself, in a hearse.

Earlier in the week, Hawkins’ sprint car was positioned beside Hawkins’ casket at the Ross G. Walker Funeral Home Ltd. in New Kensington.

After services at the funeral home Wednesday morning, mourners and others met at Lernerville in Buffalo Township for the special send-off.

The sprint car was driven by Brandon’s brother Scott Hawkins, with a Walker Funeral Home hearse carrying Hawkins’s body following closely behind with the wave of the checkered flag. Afterward, both vehicles headed to Greenwood Memorial Park in Lower Burrell.

“He lived, he breathed, he did everything for racing,” said Brandon’s father, David Hawkins, who is a racer, too.

“To take the checkered flag is the ultimate victory for him before he’s laid to rest,” he said.

Hawkins’ sprint car rounded the track several times, tearing up the quarter-mile clay track “dropping the gear and letting it fly,” said Tyler Shannon of Avonmore, Hawkins’ brother-in-law. “I thought it was awesome.”

There had not been such a funeral procession at Lernerville in recent memory, according to Michelle Tomson, Lernerville office manager.

“We were honored to do this,” she said. “Here at the race track, it’s one big racing family.”

Hawkins’ family and friends set up two trust funds for his son Maverick, 18 months old, on GoFundMe: “For Maverick Hawkins” and “Brandon Hawkins Memorial Fund.”                                       SEE PICTURES      ;     https://triblive.com/local/valley-news-dispatch/bell-township-mans-sprint-car-and-hearse-make-memorial-victory-lap-at-lernerville/?fbclid=IwAR3_Sc3GD2SdYIGZ5SQJIuCB9xXhWkJMm7PCc69LLcu6U2MgUEM3XsQPUvk

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