Taking stock in his Chevelle, Morrissett looks to turn around season


July 25, 1993|By STAN DILLON

Most competitors in motor sports have seasons they would like to forget. A season that lacks consistency in drag racing is a season that you can cross out any idea of making it into the point standings.

B.J. Morrissett is trying to turn around a lackluster season. Last Saturday, Morrissett went to the quarterfinals in Class II (12.0 seconds and slower) competition and hopes it is an indication of better weeks ahead.

"It felt real good," said the 21-year-old. "I am pretty happy. It's been a while since I have done this well. The season hasn't been too good."

Morrissett started the season with high hopes. He continually improved each week and felt he had the hang of his car when his motor gave out. When racing for the points, a missed night of competition can come back and haunt you at the end of the season.

"I ran my friend's car while I was building another motor," added Morrissett. "I never really got the hang of it. Now it is taking me a while to get use to my car again."

Morrissett replaced the blown 396 cubic inch Chevrolet motor with a more powerful 454 cubic inch one. With the help of his father, he assembled the motor himself.

"The new motor has a lot more power," Morrissett. "The car acts totally different and it has been hard getting use to again."

After last Saturday's performance, the youngster feels he has turned the corner.

Morrissett's car is a 1968 bright red Chevrolet Chevelle Super Sport. With the new motor, it is capable of running the quarter-mile in the low 10-second range, fast for a heavy car. Despite the car's capability of racing in Class I (0 to 11.99 seconds), Morrissett prefers staying in Class II and racing near the 12-second mark.

"I don't want to race the car in Class I because I would have to cut it up and put a roll bar in it," he said. "I want to keep the car looking stock."

Keeping from going too fast requires good racing talent and some special equipment. To achieve this goal, Morrissett uses a special carburetor designed and built by Chuck Taylor of Taylor Racing in Taneytown. The carburetor, a four barrel, allows B. J. to adjust the fuel where only two of the four barrels work all the time. The second set of two barrels are adjusted to give just the right amount of fuel for it to run around 12 seconds, but not too much that it will go too fast. With out any adjustment, the Chevelle does the quarter-mile in 10.90 seconds.

Morrissett became interested in drag racing at an early age. His father, William J. Morrissett III, was a successful racer and normally took B.J. the IV with him. The club basement is full of trophies.

"My father got me interested, I always wanted to race since I could remember," said B.J. "He taught me a lot. He's a lot of help, financially and mentally."

While Morrissett was eagerly waiting for the time he could race, he took his great uncle's Chevelle and began a two-year restoration project with the help of his father. The two did everything but the paint job. By the time he was old enough to drive, the car was completely restored.

Morrissett raced his new car occasionally until he graduated from high school three years ago. Then he got serious about racing and took the Chevelle off the street and made several changes to the car. He switched from a four-speed transmission to a special automatic one, installed a 396 cubic inch V-8 motor in place of the six-cylinder and made suspension changes.

B.J. is looking for a tube chassis car to run Class I in the near future. If he doesn't find any, he plans on building one from scratch. His mind isn't made up which route he'll take. Right now, he is concentrating on the remainder of the 1993 season.

With his car back together, Morrissett is intent on making a complete turn around. If last Saturday is any indication, he looks like he is back on track.


Last April when the Short Track Auto Racing Series (STARS) visited Hagerstown Speedway, Gary Stuhler of Westminster scored a convincing win. The STARS returned to Hagerstown on July 16-17 for the Conococheague 100 and Stuhler once again recorded an impressive win. Stuhler took the lead on the sixth lap and led the rest of the 100-lap event for the win. The win was Stuhler's fifth of the season at Hagerstown and 15th overall.

Rick Jones of Westminster led the first 18 laps at Winchester Speedway before Jim Spence of Winchester utilized a lapped car to vault in front on lap 19. Jones pressured Spence at the end, but settled for second. Hampstead's Charlie Schaffer finished fourth and remains on top in the point standings.

Westminster's Randy Zechman finished third in the semi-late feature at Lincoln Speedway July 17. Kenny Murfin of Union Mills finished seventh in the thundercar main event.

Woodbine resident Darren Eash finished fifth in the sprint car feature race at Williams Grove Speedway last Friday. His brother Cris finished eighth.

At 75-80 Dragway last July 16, Jamie Talbert of Taneytown won the Class II competition and Tim McGee of Westminster was the runner-up. J.R. Gonyea of Mount Airy went to the semifinal round in Class I competition.

Malcolm Ford of Westminster defeated his brother Marion Ford of Hampstead in the Motorcycles.

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