Fast lane keeps Eash on track

MOTOR SPORTS

February 07, 1993|By STAN DILLON

Darren Eash, 31, of Woodbine isn't happy unless he is racing. He loves going fast.

Darren, like his younger brother Cris, races sprint cars on the tough central Pennsylvania clay ovals.

Darren's been racing since he was 17, when his father took him and his two brothers kart racing. All four raced karts for several years, mostly at the Hunterstown, Pa., oval.

Darren Eash and his brothers were successful. He won nearly every event possible in the Yamaha Light division. In his quest for speed, he even raced dual-engine karts.

In 1984, his father asked him if he wanted to go sprint car racing. There was no hesitation; Darren was ready.

Many of the top sprint car drivers have come from the kart ranks. Going sprint car racing is a major step for anyone, but prior kart experience makes the switch a lot easier.

Eash had no trouble making the move. He felt right at home despite the difference in size and speed of his ride. By the end of his third year in 1986, he had captured the super sprint championship at the Hagerstown Speedway.

But sprint car racing is expensive. With the demands of his business on both time and finances, Eash reluctantly dropped ++ out of racing.

After a year on the sidelines, Eash couldn't take sitting idle anymore. He ran sprinters for a year before turning his attention to drag racing in 1991. For Eash, it was a way to continue in racing without spending the money required in sprint cars.

"It was fun. I brought a rolling chassis and installed the big block out of my sprint car," said Eash about his drag racing experience. "I wanted to race, but it was nothing like sprint car racing."

Eash drove a top dragster and ran the quarter-mile in 7.70 seconds, or 175 mph. Although drag racing was fun, he still wanted to race sprint cars.

Midway through last year, Eash received a call to drive for Danny Neiderer of New Oxford, Pa. The new team clicked right away. Eash raced regularly at Lincoln Speedway in Hanover, Pa., and had the highest point average at the end of the year.

He finished in the top five in most of the races with several close second-place finishes. His new car owner was happy with his record and with his driving skill.

"We made it through the year with one car," said Eash. "I had a car land on me and one ran into me, but we didn't flip, and that happens all the time in sprint racing."

Eash and his team improved with each outing and finished the season with a feature win in the opening night of the Selinsgrove Nationals at Selinsgrove (Pa.) Speedway against the top drivers in the area.

Now Eash and the team are preparing for the first race of the 1993 season at Hagerstown Speedway Feb. 28.

The team will have three new chassis to race -- one for Friday nights at the Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa., one for Saturday nights at Lincoln Speedway and a spare.

To power the 1,500-pound sprint cars to speeds over 130 mph on half-mile clay ovals, Eash will have two new fuel-injected 410-cubic-inch aluminum block engines capable of turning out over 700 horsepower.

Eash is delighted to be back in the cockpit of a sprint car. With the help of his pit crew, George and Doug Clouser, Mike Emmich and car owner Neiderer, he hopes to capture the championship at Lincoln.

Eash's sponsors include Neiderer Sanitation of New Oxford, Pa., and Shaw Chassis of Delaware. He also gives his father a lot of credit for his support over the years. Dave Eash owns E&G Classics in Columbia.

One thing is sure: If it goes fast, Eash has driven it. He would like to race IndyCars some day, but realizes that the demands of business and family will keep him at home.

Eash is as successful in business as he is racing. He started

Maryland Industrial Coaters in 1983 and employs 30 people in a 14,000-square-foot building in the Carroll County Industrial Complex near Eldersburg. They put protective coatings on dental tools, industrial and computer parts. They also do powder coating and polishing.

But as long as he can strap himself in a sprint car and go fast, he'll be happy.

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