Once-reluctant driver hooked on drag racing

MOTOR SPORTS

July 12, 1992|By Stanley C. Dillion

Scott Lowman of Woodbine never had a serious desire to race.

He spent time with his friends at the drag tracks and raced his car a couple of times down the quarter-mile when he turned 16. Occasionally he helped his friends, but he never had a real desire to join them.

Instead, he raced three- and four-wheelers, but gave that up as it became more difficult to find places to ride. He turned his attention from motorsports altogether when he got married and started a family.

But three years ago, Lowman decided to do a little drag racing. Little did he know that he would end up so involved.

"I enjoyed watching and being around drag racing," recalls Lowman. "I never really had the money before to do it. So I finally got into the situation [where] I could and decided to go ahead and buy my own car."

Lowman knew what he wanted, just a car to fool around with.

I= "I wanted to get a car that was race-ready, ready to go,"

said Lowman. "I wanted something that would last a while, something I could race all year without dumping a lot of money in it.

"I didn't care what kind it was. I am not a die-hard Chevy or Ford man. I was just looking for the best deal."

The best deal turned out to be a 1965 Chevrolet Malibu. The car is everything that Lowman was looking for.

"It's a car that doesn't break a lot of parts," he added. "It is easy to maintain. Racing is a lot more fun when you don't have to fix the car all the time."

With the car, Lowman has become one of the more consistent drivers in Class II competition. Like so many Carroll drivers, he found himself racing every week.

"I didn't think I would get this hooked," said the 25-year-old. "I wasn't expecting to want to do it this much. Now, I can't wait from one week to the next. My wife thinks that I am enjoying [it] much too much."

Last year, his second full year of racing, Lowman finished 14th in points and was one of the bracket final qualifiers and made the team that represented 75-80 Dragway at the NHRA/NED Finals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa. Not only does Lowman want to make the trip again this year, he would like to finish higher in points.

Lowman admits he still has a lot to learn. He keeps records of all his runs, but says he still doesn't know the car the way he should.

The most difficult part of drag racing for Lowman is the first

round. Although he may make consistent time trials during the day, the change in the temperature and the winds have to be compensated for.

"Getting through the first round is the toughest," said Lowman. "There is a lot of waiting, and you don't know whether you dialed in [estimated] the right time or not. It is much easier after the first round.

"You have a better idea of how the car is going to run the rest of the night. You also have more confidence."

Everyone is at the same disadvantage. This is where experience plays an important part. He's working on that.

Lowman competes in Class II, cars that run elapsed times of 12 seconds or slower.

Lowman does all the work on the car himself. The car has been inexpensive compared to what many drivers spend. Outside of normal maintenance, Lowman freshens the motor over the winter, spending about $400 to $500 in parts.

The car is equipped with a "mild" 396-cubic-inch motor. He ran in Class I a couple of times at the end of last season. The fastest time he turned was 11.52 seconds, or 118 miles per hour. Still, Lowman has no plans of moving up.

"I enjoy class II," Lowman said. "It is easier on the wallet. I would like to go to Class I some day, but right now my plans are to stick with Class II and enjoy the competition.

"Right now I can afford Class II. With a family and all, I am not sure I can afford Class I."

Lowman's wife Molinda enjoys drag racing, too. With two children, Jason, 2 1/2 , and Kevin, 1, she is not able to watch her husband race as much as she would like.

Lowman works for Environmental Systems in Columbia.

Regardless of what class Lowman races, count on him being a regular competitor at 75-80 Dragway for years to come.

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