Racing is no drag for Nusbaum

MOTOR SPORTS

October 18, 1992|By STAN DILLON

Not every race fan or driver is able to attend the races every week. Some can attend only when time and finances permit. But they still love drag racing as much as the weekly competitor.

Stanley Nusbaum is an avid race fan. He loves drag racing and attends as often as time allows. And he competes when he can.

Some day, when he has the time and finances, he plans on pursuing drag racing on a weekly basis. Now, he gets his kicks racing at least once a year at 75-80 Dragway on Fall Ford Spectacular Day.

Nusbaum fell in love with drag racing while in high school. As soon as he turned 16, he became a regular at 75-80. For two years he raced every week.

When he got married, the responsibilities of a new home and family came first, so Nusbaum left the weekly competition.

While Nusbaum was away from racing, he never lost his desire to return as a driver. He loved being at the races. He attended the National Hot Rod Association Nationals whenever he could.

"I liked the smell of burning rubber and exhaust," said Nusbaum. "It was a high, but it didn't really satisfy you as much as driving."

Five years ago, Nusbaum purchased a used Ford Pinto wagon for his wife with more than one purpose.

"I swore some day that the car was going to be a race car," he said.

Three years ago, when the Pinto wagon's odometer rolled past 160,000 miles, Nusbaum replaced his wife's car with another. He was ready to fulfill his desire to return to racing, even if it was on a part-time basis.

"The car was ideal for a race car," he said "It had a V-6 instead of a four cylinder, an automatic transmission and an eight-inch rear, the same rear that is used by a Mustang. All strong components for a race car."

Nusbaum has gone racing with the car at least every Ford Day at 75-80, sometimes more. Despite the lack of track time, he has improved the car's performance from an elapsed time of 20 seconds to 18 seconds.

Although Nusbaum is unable to compete weekly, he immensely enjoys the time at the track.

"I am getting as much fun out of it as the big boys," he said. "If I

cut the light and dial the right time, I can win just as much."

Racing only a couple of times a year makes it difficult for anyone to do as well as the weekly racers. Yet, Nusbaum went six rounds before losing out by one-tenth of a second last year.

Last week was his first time out this year. Despite his inactivity, he was still able to go three rounds.

"I know what the car is going to do," said Nusbaum. "But it takes time to get used to the tree. The Hoff Brothers of Westminster are perfect at the light every time. I get caught sleeping at the line."

To make up for the inactivity, the 32-year-old Eldersburg resident gets to the track early to make as many time runs as he can make. He is accompanied by his two sons, Christopher, 9, and Danny, 7, who have become race fans too, especially when their father races.

A heavy equipment mechanic and certified welder for JEMS Contracting in Eldersburg, Nusbaum patiently is waiting for the day that he can race every week. He has plans to rebuild the motor in the Pinto and give the old wagon a paint job. He already has a name for the car, "Stress Relief."

"I plan on being a 60-year-old guy at the racetrack, keeping it on the floor to the end," he said.

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