A full-page ad in a racing trade paper read, "Race Car Driver Wanted, No Experience Necessary."
The ad continued with a challenge to the reader: "If you think you can handle a NASCAR Winston Cup-type race car at high speed, then Richard Petty and Nastrack Driver Search will let you try out."
Kenny Angell of Taneytown took the challenge April 22. It was a dream come true.
The driver search is open to 1,000 entrants. This is the second year for the program.
The program is similar to the Baltimore Orioles Dream Week, since it provides a chance to fulfill adream.
But the similarity ends there. This program is open to menand women over age 16 where Dream Week is for adults over 30.
Both programs give you a chance to meet your idols, but Nastrack is alsofor the serious athlete as well.
The driver search is for two types of racing enthusiast: the die-hard fan who wants to get behind thewheel just once and is willing to put out the money for it or the driver who is serious about a racing career and wants to be one of the 25 finalists.
Angell is among the latter.
The driver search provides contestants with the opportunity to show their skills, learn how to go fast and have a chance to win the most imaginative prize in U.S. motor racing. The top prize is a trip to Australia for a one-weektraining course and a contract to drive in five races there.
Angell is a semi-late-model driver at Lincoln Speedway in Hanover, Pa., who wants to become a professional driver and compete on the NASCAR circuit. To fulfill his dream, he went to the Nastrack course at the Charlotte, N.C., International Speedway.
Angell won't know how he did until the scores of all the contestants are totaled.
"It was an all-day session," he explained. "We were at the track from 7 a.m. to 6:30 that night."
Each entrant had three sessions covering at least 25 laps around the 1.5-mile high-bank asphalt oval.
"I ran a 10-lap practice session and then they gave me pointers about how to improve my driving," Angell said. "Then I had 10 more laps."
After thetwo practice sessions and more driving tips, it was time for Angell to see how well he could do.
The test is graded on a point system based largely on skill and potential.
"There were two cars, both Pontiacs, that were retired from actual NASCAR racing," Angell said. "I drove five laps in one and then five laps in another. We had to drive between markers placed on the track.
"We gave them the speed wewanted to go and could not vary more than five miles per hour from it. At the same time, we had to drive through the markers with only 8 inches clearance on each side."
It was extremely difficult task toask of drivers regardless of their experience on asphalt. But Angelldid not have any problem.
Now he has to wait until all contestants take their session. When the results are announced this fall, he hopes to be one of the 25 to go to Australia.
It was the first time for Angell on asphalt, though he has been driving in the semi-lates on dirt at Lincoln for five years. He drives
a 1971 Chevelle with a355-cubic-inch Chevrolet engine. Nothing fancy about his operation, all low buck.
His parents, Eugene and Thelma Angell, along with AMSOIL dealer Bruce Hoffman and Gary's Radiator Shop, help Angell on the local level. Terry Cox and cousin Patti Spangler are his pit crew.
The 27-year-old is anxious to make his move in racing and begin driving on asphalt.
He expected to move into sprint car racing firstand then to asphalt, but who knows, his move to the asphalt could come sooner if he makes the top 25 at Nastrack.
The trip to Nastrack, like the Orioles Dream Week was expensive -- $2,650 to be exact.
"I guarantee it was worth every minute of it," Angell said. " Being with (NASCAR drivers Rodney) Combs and Barry Graham: It was worth it."