Steve Barnes of Westminster has been racing in the four-cylinder pure stock class for two years. This year, his younger brother Matt willjoin him on the local dirt ovals.
Steve Barnes attended local race tracks most of his life. Three years ago, he put together an old car and raced a couple of enduro races at Lincoln Speedway in Hanover, Pa., and became addicted to the sport.
After evaluating many options, Barnes decided to go racing the following year in the four-cylinder pure stock division.
"I wanted something that would be relatively inexpensive, but competitive," saidBarnes.
The four-cylinder division has become a popular division in oval track competition. It provides young people like Steve and Matt Barnes an inexpensive way to race. Motor racing at any level is not cheap; it's just a bit less expensive at the four-cylinder level.
The four-cylinder division has more-easily enforced rules, and the cars are kept as close to stock as possible to keep the cost down. Unlike in other divisions that race locally on dirt, import cars are allowed. Only small cars, with 102-inch wheelbase or less, can compete.
The Barnes brothers race every Friday night at Trail-Way Speedwayin Hanover. Steve drives a 1980 Ford Mustang, and Matt will be driving in the four-cylinder class in a Ford Pinto.
Matt, 19, hasn't had much track time, blowing his motor the first time out.
Steve enjoys racing at other tracks. Two weeks ago, the 22-year-old raced at Hagerstown Speedway in Washington County, where the track is a half-mile oval instead of the three-eighths of a mile at Trail-Way. Steve had no trouble getting around.
"I used the same gears that I used atTrail-Way," said Barnes. "It seemed to have an advantage in the straightaway."
Barnes had a seventh-place finish, a big improvement over his visit there last year, when he totaled the car in a head-on collision.
"It was my worst accident," Barnes recalled. "I was spun around in the middle of the first turn and had a full field of cars bearing down on me. The worst thing was watching all the cars come at me."
Barnes nearly escaped any damage, but the last car through plowed into him head-on.
Barnes and his brother rebuilt the car for this season. They haven't done anything to the motor since last year except install a larger cam. Still, it isn't hard to spend $2,000 on one of these motors.
Now that both Steve and Matt are racing, their father, Ed, has been attending the races to watch.
Steve works as a tire salesman at Barnes Service Center of Westminster, a major sponsor for the brothers.
Barnes is also sponsored by C & O Distributors and Gary's Radiator, both of Westminster.
Barnes doesn't haveimmediate plans to move to another division.
"I am in it more as a hobby," he said. "It is something that is kind of reasonable, but you still have to spend some money."
Now that racing season is here, you won't have any trouble finding the Barnes brothers.
On weeknights, they'll be working on their cars. On Friday, they will be racing at Trail-Way Speedway.
But this year will be different for Steve Barnes.
Instead of having his brother in the pit area, Matt willbe on the track trying to beat Steve to the checkered flag.