Drag's the ticket for veteran White


November 15, 1992

Drag racing has come a long way since the early 1960s. And so has Darrell White of Westminster.

The 49-year-old veteran started drag racing on country roads more than 30 years ago. He started at a time when it was not unusual for guys and their girlfriends to get together on quiet streets and highways to see who had the fastest car.

Many times they raced in the moonlight with their headlights out to keep from being caught by the police.

Still many of them, including White, picked up their share of traffic violations. As expanding populations and business development began crowding the illegal contests from formerly quiet streets and highways, White decided to switch from the public roads to the drag strip.

"Not only was I concerned about the traffic violations, I was also concerned about the danger involved as well. We were maniacs to do what we did," recalled White.

"I was worried that someone was going to get hurt. So I thought the best thing to do was to go to a drag strip and see how fast the car could go."

White went to 75-80 Dragway in Monrovia and has been going ever since. He enjoyed the competition and was a consistent winner in the '60s and '70s.

NB White raced locally until two years ago. Now he races with the

Super Gas Club, headquartered in Culpepper, Va. The organization promotes heads-up racing at area tracks.

The club gets together about once a month for two days of racing at tracks in a four-state area. The club has about 14 races a year with a point fund that is distributed at the year-ending awards banquet.

White races as much as he can with the club. This year he has been unable to race as much as he likes because of the economy. The rest of the time he is racing on his own. He prefers the heads-up start rather than the handicapping system in use today.

"I don't sign up for points anymore. I just like to go where I feel like going," said White. "I keep jumping around for two reasons. I try to win the money and I like to race with different people. I like meeting new people and racing different cars. I like to win and make myself known.

"I found that I do better at other tracks and normally finish in the top five most of the time. I don't seem to do as well at 75-80 or Mason-Dixon at times."

White's pride is a 1984 Ford Thunderbird with a fuel-injected 351 cubic-inch Cleveland engine.

"It is the fastest Cleveland on the East Coast," White said. "It runs better than most big-block Fords and Chevys. Other drivers are amazed at how fast this car runs with a engine that is mostly stock."

Last year, White ran the car on gas and ran the quarter-mile in 9.7 seconds. This year, he changed the motor over to fuel injection and cut his elapsed time by three-tenths of a second. His Thunderbird now reels off a quarter-mile in 9.4 seconds, or 150 mph.

"There is still a lot left in the engine," said White. "I feel that the car is capable of running in the 9.2-second bracket. I think I can get more out of the block yet."

After running Ford Pintos built by his brother for several years, White had Donnie Hess of Taneytown build him the T-Bird.

"It was the first tube-chassis car that Donnie built," said White. "He did a very good job. I wanted a newer and lighter car."

The machine work on the motor is done by Spealman's Machine Shop of Taneytown, and the transmission is worked on by Performance Automotive of Gaithersburg.

White receives sponsor support from Mason Dixon Racing Supplies in Littlestown, Pa., Spealman's Machine Shop in Taneytown, Chuck's Video in Westminster and Arundel Chassis and Components in Glen Burnie.

White would like to race full time someday, but realizes that time and money is not on his side. He plans to race in New Jersey on weekends after local tracks close.

"I like to race all winter," White said. "I'll go whenever I can afford to run down the track again."

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