Late start hasn't slowed this racer

MOTOR SPORTS

August 22, 1993|By STAN DILLON

Jeff Young has wanted to race since he started going to the races when he was 5. Last year, at an age most drivers have been racing for a while, Young decided to get behind the wheel of a race car.

The Westminster resident competes every Friday night at the Trail-Way Speedway near Hanover, Pa., in the four-cylinder division as a 35-year-old rookie.

"It was something I always wanted to do," said Young. "My cousins and I talked about it for years. I felt it was time to do it now or forget it. I didn't want to turn 50 and have to say I wished I would have done it."

In May 1992, Young purchased a four-cylinder used car.

"I decided to race in the four-cylinder division," Young said. "I had been watching the cars the past couple of years at Trail-Way and I liked what I saw. They were competitive and it was a growing division. I felt it was a good place to start."

It took Young and his crew five months to build the car for racing. Rather than build a car like the other drivers, Young had purchased a Toyoto Corolla SR5.

"I decided to get a Toyota because everyone else had a Ford Pinto," Young said. "It is a good basic car. I wanted something different. I am happy with it so far. It has been a pretty good car."

When Young completed the car, it was late fall and only one race remained on the 1992 schedule. Young started 16th and finished 16th in his first and only race of last year. But it was enough to convince him he had made the right decision.

"I got to race the last race. It was just enough to tease me," he said. "Then I had to wait all winter to race again. I was more than ready when spring rolled around."

The wait was even more difficult as the 1993 season was delayed several times by rain. But when it arrived, Young was ready. He finished third in the first race.

The season has been one of steady improvement. Young currently has a string of several top five finishes, which has propelled him into fourth in points. His late success has not come easy.

"We struggled for several weeks earlier in the season," Young said. "We got hit by another car that broke the frame in half. We never got the car working right after that. We took the car to Butch Harvey, who owned late models, and he found that the cross members had been moved. He did the set-up and got the car working again."

The first time Young took the car back to the track, he knew that Harvey had the chassis back in line.

"The car has felt as good as it ever did," Young said. "Cars that don't handle well are like the worst nightmare you can ever have."

Young and his crew, cousins Gary Miller, his crew chief, Russell Miller and Justin Miller and old friend Terry Swinefield, do all of the work on the car.

"They work 10 to 20 hours a week on the car," Young said. "They put their personal chores aside some weeks to make sure we make every race. We have never missed a Friday night."

The machine work on the engine is done by Morris Machine Shop in Manchester and is assembled by Len Davis of Davis Racing in Westminster.

With almost a year of experience behind them, Young and his crew already are building another car for next year. It is another Toyota and they expect it to be better built because of their experience.

Next year they plan on racing at Potomac Speedway in addition to Trail-Way. During the off-season, Young hopes to obtain a major sponsor to go with associate sponsors he now has -- Stahley's Automotive Electrical Service of Westminster and Stambaugh's Sons & Daughters Painting of Westminster.

Roundup of results

Last Saturday, Chuck Taylor of Westminster went to the final round in his Class I debut at 75-80 Dragway. Taylor went seven rounds in his new Pennzoil/Heltebridle dragster before losing in the final round. Taylor's best ET was 8.61 seconds, 151 mph.

Corey Hess of Taneytown went to the final round in Class II last Friday and Saturday at 75-80. Larry Hoff of Westminster was a semifinalist last Friday, and Ben Snouffer of Mount Airy won five rounds last Saturday.

In Class I competition, Ray Lewis of Woodbine was runner-up on Friday and George Hoff of Westminster went to the semifinals last Saturday. Dave Belt of Taneytown was the runner-up in the motorcycles and Tim Lippy of New Windsor was semifinalist.

The Winston Divisional championship was at the U.S. 13 Dragway in Delmar, Del., last weekend. Tim Peters of Westminster went six rounds in the Super Comp division. Peters currently is in second place in the Dave Bishop Super Comp circuit. Westminster's Len Davis and Todd Harris went three rounds.

At Trail-Way Speedway last Friday, Steve Owings of Westminster won his second micro-sprint feature of the year. Owings started 11th and advanced to the lead by the second lap. Brad McClelland of Westminster was fourth.

In the eight-cylinder feature, Gary Herman of Manchester was fourth, Charlie Calp of Hampstead was seventh followed by Mark Shorb and Corky Stull of Westminster. Jeff Young of Westminster placed third in the four-cylinder division.

Gary Stuhler of Westminster won a special late-model feature at Bedford (Pa.) Speedway last Thursday and won the 72-lap Paul Johnson Memorial at the Winchester Speedway last Saturday. Rick Jones and his brother Ernie of Westminster placed fifth and sixth and Charlie Schaffer of Hampstead was 10th.

In late-model action at Hagerstown, Mike Harrison of Mount Airy was 10th, and Frank Fleming of Taneytown placed 10th in the limited late-model feature.

In super sprint action at Lincoln, Jeese Wentz of Manchester placed fifth. Kenny Angel of Westminster was eighth in the semi-late feature, Corky Stull of Westminster was third and Kenny Murfin of Union Mills was sixth in the thundercar main event.

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