Switching gears from watching to racing paid off for the Chasens


September 27, 1992|By STANLEY C. DILLON

Scott Chasen is wrapping up a good year in Class II competition at the 75-80 Dragway. Scott and his wife, Veronica, are regular competitors at the Monrovia track.

They began racing three years ago. Until that time, they were casual spectators who enjoyed watching the competition.

"We went from time to time. We enjoyed watching," said Chasen. "I never gave it a thought about getting into it. It's tough to get started unless you have someone coaxing you to."

The coaxing the Chasens needed came from Larry Hoff of Westminster, a close friend of Veronica.

Everyone at 75-80 knows Hoff. He is always around when fellow competitors need help and always is giving advice to new drivers. He also has given a lot of drivers the chance to get started in drag racing.

Hoff talks drag racing with everyone that he comes in contact with. It was no different with Chasen. Finally, Chasen gave it a try.

"It's like a disease," said Chasen. "Once it hits you, you know it."

Hoff's influence didn't stop with Scott.

Scott's wife became just as active and drives her 1983 Chevrolet Cavalier every week.

Last year, Scott did not race on a weekly basis.

When he wasn't at the track, Scott and his family were traveling with the kids.

"We spent time going places with the kids, but we really missed the races," said Chasen. "We might miss the races for a couple of weeks in a row, but after that it hits you. You miss it because that's where your friends are."

Toward the end of last year, Hoff approached Chasen about driving a 1967 Ford Falcon that he had sitting around. By the end of the year, Chasen had the bugs out of the car and was racing it competitively.

When this season rolled around, Chasen had the opportunity to race the Falcon again. With his children older and more interested in racing, he decided to race every week for the points.

The season turned out to be a good one for him. In only his third season he made his presence felt in Class II competition. He won the Gamblers race earlier in the year, picking up $1,000 in prize money. In August, he won at the Maryland E.T. Nationals at the Mason-Dixon Dragway in Hagerstown.

But since that race in August, his performance dropped off. Chasen was in a slump that dropped him out of the top 10 in points for the first time. Going into the last points race, he felt the pressure.

"There's a lot of pressure in Class II," said Chasen. "It is real tough. You have so many good people to race against."

Chasen was 12th on the final night of the season. A bad night would have dropped him out of the top 18 that would represent 75-80 in the Bracket Finals.

But Chasen reacted like an old pro and did well enough to pull himself back into the top 10. Chasen finished ninth for the season and reached his goal.

He will be going to the Northeast Division's Bracket Finals at Maple Grove on Thursday.

Chasen's Falcon is powered by a stock Ford 351-cubic-inch Windsor. The car does the quarter-mile in the 12.70-second range.

Without a doubt, Chasen is happy with his season.

His sponsor support comes from Tommy's Auto Parts, Condon's Auto Parts in Westminster and Jeff Barnes Chevrolet in Eldersburg.

"I really owe it all to Larry and Diane Hoff," said Scott. "Without them I wouldn't be here."

Thanks to the Hoffs, the Chasens and their children, Patrick and Rebecca, are regulars at 75-80 and love every minute of it.

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