Fan finds better seat in a kart


December 27, 1992|By STAN DILLON

Dale Rill has been a race fan all of his life. He's enjoyed watching all forms of motorsports, from drag racing to sprint car racing. He never had any interest in becoming a driver. He was satisfied watching from the sidelines.

That all changed about six months ago after watching his first kart race.

"I didn't know anything about them before," said Rill. "I went to Hunterstown [Pa.] with my brother to watch his friend race. A month later, I had my own kart."

To get started, Rill turned to Jim Wainwright of Westminster Kart & Supply Co. Wainwright helped the young driver select equipment. For approximately $1,500, Rill had all he needed to go racing.

"I got into it just to have fun," said the 20-year-old. "I'm having a great time. It is like a hobby to me. I don't pay attention to where I finish. I don't remember how I did in my first race. I am just happy to race every week."

Although go-kart racing has started as a hobby for Rill, he shows signs of becoming addicted to it like many others.

By the time the regular season was over, Rill had purchased a spare motor for his kart and competed at the indoor event the past two weeks.

Racing has been a big learning experience for the Hampstead resident. Learning to adjust the chassis and tire pressure is difficult for a driver starting out. He credits a course in small-engine repair at North Carroll High as a big help in keeping his motor running smoothly. His job as a machinist at Cimtec in Timonium has also helped him deal with upkeep. Rill has enjoyed the challenge so much that he tackled the indoor track.

Switching to indoor racing is difficult for the experienced drivers. For Rill, with no track time on asphalt and only a couple of months behind the wheel, it was even more of a challenge to find the proper chassis set-up for the concrete floor.

The lack of experience hasn't kept Rill from having a good time. "I liked it a lot," Rill said. "It is tighter, closer racing. It is way different from racing outdoors on dirt. It is not even close to being the same."

Rill was satisfied with his first weekend of competition indoors. He thought he adapted to the hard surface. In his second outing at last week's indoor meet in Timonium's Cow Palace, the racing surface had changed considerably from the first event. Even the veteran drivers were having difficulty negotiating the turns on the small oval. It had a lot of rubber on it from the first week of competition, which meant more chassis adjustments.

Several drivers rolled their karts in practice. A friend of Rill's did some laps on his car and ended upside down.

They repaired the kart and came back Sunday. Rill still had problems handling the corners. In his race, he was tapped from behind while entering the turn and rolled the kart into the wall.

Rill was not injured but was stiff and sore the next day. The wreck damaged a few parts, and Rill will probably miss today's final indoor event.

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