Trucker Couldn't Get Started Racing


Now He Can't Quit

April 14, 1991|By Stanley C.Dillon

During the week, Jim Peddicord of Westminster drives a 18-wheel tanktruck for Hahn Transportation in New Market, Frederick County.

Onweekends, he drag-races a 1966 Ford Mustang.

Peddicord is of the new drivers at 75-80 Dragway in Monrovia. Although he has wanted to race most of his life, he did not start until last November.

Since then, he hasn't missed a weekend.

In the past 20 years, Peddicord had been to the track only about 10 times as a spectator. He never got involved because he didn't think he could afford it. But the desire to race stayed in the back of his mind.

Knowing Larry Hoff for 20 years also influenced Peddicord. Racing fansin the Carroll County area know Hoff and drag racing go together like apple pie and the American flag.

Toward the end of September, Peddicord took his GMC pickup truck to 75-80 to try it out. It was the first time he had ever been on the track. Hoff was helping Peddicordlike he helps every one, especially the rookies.

"I raced my old truck one week," recalled Peddicord. "Then Larry called and told me about this Mustang that was for sale.

"I went to see it on Wednesday, brought it the next day, took off from work and worked on it for three days and raced it that weekend. I have been racing ever since.

"It didn't sound too good, but I ran it and decided what I had to do to it," added the 37-year-old.

Peddicord raced the car the last four weeks of the season, then spent the winter preparing for this year.

There was a lot of work and time involved, especially since the car had been sitting for some time.

"The motor had a bad head, so I took it to Charlie Spielman's machine shop in Taneytown to have the heads ported and polished. I also put a bigger cam and a four-barrel carburetor on," explained Peddicord.

"After the motor was worked on, I replaced the three-speed transmission with an automatic and put a 4.11 rear in and a 3,500 stall converter to make the car take off faster from the line and shift harder."

Peddicord also brought apair of racing slicks for the rear wheels over the winter to cut down on spinning at the starting line.

Has all the work made a difference in the car?

"It sure has," replied Peddicord. "My first run last year was 17.53 seconds elapsed time (82.5 miles per hour); this year it was 13.58 seconds (99.3 mph). It feels great. The car has comea long way."

But not all the credit belongs to the car. Peddicordhas come a long way, too.

"It has been a lot of work, a lot of trial and error", he said. "You try something; if it doesn't work you try something else.

"I have also learned a lot by talking to other people. The people at 75-80 are always ready to help you. Everyone gets along real well, until we get alongside of one another.

"Without Larry Hoff I wouldn't have started. He tries to help everybody."

After looking and wishing from the sidelines for so long, drag racing obviously has lived up to Peddicord's expectations. Now he's hooked. Like many other competitors at 75-80, drag racing has become a family sport for the Peddicords.

"My 12-year-old son Cliff, he's all into it." said Peddicord proudly.

"He helped me put the motor in. Now he is my pit crew at the track. By the time he's 16, he'll be ready to go."

Peddicord's other children, Jimmy, 16, and Dillon, 4, also are big fans of their father.

Peddicord said he still has a long way to go.

"I am looking for a good solid 13.50 E. T.(100 miles per hour). If I get that I'll be happy. That's my goal for this year.

"I plan on running the ETK (trophy) class at 75-80 and Mason-Dixon (in Hagerstown). My time isn't consistent enough

for Class II. Istill have a lot to learn."

Peddicord now is doing something he always wanted to do. His wife, Abby, is supportive and attends the races, too.

At one time, Peddicord didn't think he had the time to race. Now he makes the time, and he said it has brought him closer to his sons. They are together every weekend.

"It's a great feeling," he said. "I have to make sure I don't go hog-wild about it. It is great to go down to the end of the track and beat that other guy."

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