Monrovia keeps fans revved up during winter


December 13, 1992|By STAN DILLON

Race fans are like any other sports fans -- they can't get enough of their sport. In the past, racing came to a halt during the winter months. Thanks to the Monrovia Raceway, that won't happen this year.

For the next three Sundays beginning today, there will be indoor go-kart races in the Cow Palace at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

The doors will open each Sunday at 7 a.m. with practice at 9 a.m. The time trials that will determine the starting field in each class begin at 11:30 a.m. The racing starts at 2 p.m.

Aware that the interest for racing during the winter months does not subside, Monrovia Raceway officials scheduled an indoor race last year. Although indoor events have been successful in other cities, there was no guarantee that it would work in the Baltimore area.

The Monrovia group gambled and the one-day event was an overwhelming success.

Two years ago, the Monrovia Raceway, headed by Craig Fetter of Arbutus with assistance from Calvin Middleton of Finksburg and a group of volunteers, took a desolate go-kart track buried in the brush and trees adjacent to the 75-80 Dragway in Monrovia and turned the three-tenths-mile road course into one of the top asphalt tracks in the country. Last summer, in only its second season of operation, Monrovia Raceway successfully played host to the National Manufacturers Cup Race in June.

Kart racing has grown in leaps and bounds the past five years. One reason for karting's growth is its appeal to all ages. Kids don't have to wait for a driver's license to go kart racing.

Classes are divided by age, weight (kart and driver), and engine size. A heavy person is not expected to compete against a lighter one and 8-year-olds don't race against teen-agers.

Karting also appeals to women. It is one of the few sports where men and women compete as equals.

There will be racing in more than 10 classes for both two- and four-cycle-powered karts.

Many sprint car drivers like Darren and Cris Eash of Woodbine and Jeff Shepard of Finksburg got their start in kart racing. A quick look into the ranks of IndyCar racing shows seven of the top 10 drivers in the 1991 Indy Car Series began their careers in go-karts.

And it is not unusual to find many drivers return to kart racing when they cannot afford racing on the big track.

"We already have several stock car drivers signed up for our event," said Fetter. "Dickie Boswell, who drives NASCAR short-track events at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas, will be one of them.

"Last year we had over 117 drivers from seven states. This year, we will cut off registration at 150."

Carroll County will be well represented today. Dale Rill of Hampstead will compete in the box stock light division, Mike Devilbliss of Taneytown in the super stock class and Curt DeNinno of Westminster in the heavy division. Also in competition will be 12-year-old Lori Coon of Winfield.

The race course is a flat oval with 140-foot straight-aways. The concrete surface is treated with cola syrup for better traction. Seating facilities have been doubled over last year.

Admission is $6 for adults and children under 12 are admitted for free.

The Saturdays before each Sunday event have been for practice.

"This day is set aside primarily for the competitors," said Fetter. "We want the drivers to get use to racing indoors and put as much rubber as we can on the track to make it safe for racing."

If you are looking for some neat racing action where drivers of all ages are competing, indoor kart racing at Timonium surely will help pass the winter blues.

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