Marion Hare, of Millers, always was fascinated by drag racing. Three years ago, he was making plans for an addition to his house. Instead, he purchased a race car.
"My wife wasn't too happy," recalled Hare. "Now she likes it a lot better than me."
Hare and his wife have been racing every week at the 75-80 Dragway in Monrovia. In fact, Hare has become so involved with racing he hasn't had any weekends to build that addition.
His interest in drag racing came early in life. But he was side-tracked when he became involved in dirt track racing about 12 years ago. He owned a street stock car, with Ernie Jones of Westminster as his driver. They raced the car at Trailways in Hanover, Pa.
After a couple of years, Hare injured his knee, sold his car to Jones and left racing for several years. He built a house and got married while Jones continued on a successful path to late-model stock car racing.
Three years ago Allan Palmer, a co-worker at Charles Miller Construction Co., was riding home from a job site with Hare and they began to talk about racing. The two found that they enjoyed all kinds of racing, from NASCAR to local dirt tracks.
Palmer told Hare about the car he had for sale. Later that night, Hare looked at the 1972 Mustang that Palmer had been racing at the 75-80 track.
Hare bought the car within a week. He purchased a 429-cubic-inch Ford engine from his cousin that came from a 1971 T-Bird and installed a crankshaftfrom a 460-cubic-inch engine.
To prepare the engine for racing, Hare, like most Ford racers in Carroll County, took it to Charlie Spealman in Westminster for the machine work.
Hare drove a couple times that fall to get the bugs out of the car. Last year, he raced every week. He started in Class I for cars with elapsed times of 11.99 seconds or under.
"I stepped right in with the big boys," said Hare. "The car is fast, it runs good. The car runs the quarter-mile in the 11-second range."
Now in his second year, Hare feels more comfortable with his car.
"I still have a lot of learning to do," said Hare. "It looked easy when you are there watching. But I found out it's no piece of cake."
Although Hare hasn't won yet, he feels he is improving each week. "I believe I am finally getting my lights down," said the 32 year old. "It seems like I was either red-lighting or sleeping."
Hare hasn't any definite future plans about racing. He wants to go faster, and plans on purchasing a lighter Austin chassis and body in the future.
Although Hare still enjoys watching dirt track racing, he has no intention of returning to it as a competitor or car owner.
"It takes too much money," he said. "You only have the other guy to worry about [in drag racing]. You have to watch 20 other guys in auto racing. If we got banged up, we would work on the car all week. Now all I have to do is bring the car home and park it."
Hare would like to race at other tracks, but wants to get his timing down before he tries. He knows that racing at 75-80, he is up against the best.
Hare and his wife enjoy racing and the friends they have made. It wouldn't surprise anyone if Barb gets behind the wheel and races some day.