Monrovia Go-cart Track Sprouts In Field Of Dreams

MOTOR SPORTS

It's Full Speed Ahead After Rise From Rubbish

January 26, 1992|By STANLEY C. DILLON

Buried among the brush and trees adjacent to 75-80 Dragway in Monrovia was a go-cart track that had been abandoned for years.

One fallday in 1990, between races at the Frederick County dragway, Craig Fetter of Arbutus explored the desolate go-kart track.

"It wasn't all that terrible," said the Baltimore County resident. "But it had grown up real bad."

Filled with excitement, Fetter hurried home that October day and placed a call to a close friend, Calvin Middleton of Finksburg, whose son raced go-karts together with his own.

"I immediately confided in him," said Fetter. "He was the perfect guy to call.

"We started carting about the same time. His wife, Pam, was knowledgeable in scoring and registration, and I knew they could help."

Middleton and Fetter visited the site. Despite the weeds, brush, trees and trash, they believed they could reopen the track.

Like the farmer in the movie "Field of Dreams," Fetter and Middleton had a vision.

Fetter worked out a lease for the track, and the Monrovia Kart Club was born. The two began working toward their dream -- to have the track open for the 1991 season.

Starting inDecember 1990, the Fetter and Middleton families worked every weekend from dawn to dusk, hauling away load upon load of debris.

Jason Middleton and Chaz Fetter built a new roof and strengthened the floorof a scoring tower once hidden by trees.

"The track was not in bad shape, but the turns were well-weathered," said Middleton.

Sincethe club couldn't afford to pave the whole course, it found a contractor to repave the turns.

"We were able not only to repave the turns, but to blend (the surface) in with the rest of the track," said Fetter. "We couldn't have any bumps, since the carts are only three-quarters of an inch from the ground."

Business at the track started slowly -- with only 15 carts -- in part because it rained the first three weekends.

But thanks in part to its location near Interstate 70, the number of participants increased each week. Carroll race fans, looking for an inexpensive way to enjoy racing, began to run at Monrovia.

By the time the season closed in November, more than 80 carts were competing.

The outlook is even brighter for 1992, with a prestigious National Manufacturers Cup Race scheduled June 12-14 expected to attract East Coast competitors to a track that was overgrown by weeds less than two years ago.

Attracting the national meet was quite an accomplishment for the Fetters, Middletons and the club, butthey didn't stop there. Even before the season ended at Monrovia, Fetter began planning an indoor meet at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

About 120 carts from as far away as New York participated, making the event financially successful for the club.

After helping with the indoor event, the Middleton family traveled over theChristmas holiday to Kart Week in Jacksonville, Fla., where son Jason finished ninth in the 38-car stock heavy class.

With the 1991 season over, Fetter and Middleton have been busy every night working out a schedule for a successful 1992, with opening day set for March 22.

Because of the dedication of people like the Fetters and Middletons, Carroll residents can race close to home without spending large sums.

"It was great to see this grow from nothing to what we have," Middleton said.

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