Warehime hopes luck takes turn for better


November 07, 1993|By STAN DILLON

A lot of things can go wrong in auto racing. Mechanical problems, handling problems, being in the wrong place at the wrong time and just plain bad luck.

It has all happened to Neil Warehime since he started racing more than a year ago. Despite the many setbacks, the 28-year-old driver is not ready to give up.

Warehime's first two seasons have not been kind. He has struggled since he climbed behind the wheel of his 1979 Buick Regal. But the thrill and excitement kept him going.

The Finksburg resident became interested in racing as a crew member on a friend's car four years ago. It wasn't long before he wanted to give driving a try. Two years later he and a friend, Joe Bankard, decided to build their own car.

When the 1992 season rolled around, the car was ready. But misfortune struck right from the start.

"I only raced two races the first year," said Warehime. "I raced once at Trail-Way Speedway and once at Lincoln Speedway. The second time out I broke my leg. I went into the turn too hard and got sideways and another car T-boned me on the driver's side. It broke my leg where I had broken it once before from skiing."

Although the accident finished him for the season before he really got started, Warehime wasn't going to let the bad experience stop him from racing. While he was recuperating, he began to rebuild the car for the 1993 season.

"We straightened out the frame from where it was pushed in on the side," Warehime said. "We had to put the car in a frame jig and pull it back out. We had a lot of sheet metal damage to repair, too."

Warehime looked forward to the new season. He split the driving with Shelby Sawyer. On Friday night, Warehime drove the car in the eight-cylinder class at Trail-Way. On Saturday, he helped crew chief Bankard on the car while Sawyer drove in the thundercar division at Lincoln.

"One race a week was plenty," Warehime said. "It takes a lot to work on the car during the week, tow it to the races, race and haul it back home. So I shared the racing."

The new season did not bring Warehime any better luck. He continued to have mechanical problems.

"I blew my best motor early in the season, so we replaced it with a junkyard 305-cubic-inch one. It didn't have any power, so we kept looking for another 350-cubic-inch motor to replace it with. We eventually traded the small one for a friend's larger motor and ran the rest of the year with it. The car ran good for a stock engine."

In addition to his motor problems, Warehime had more than his share of flat tires. Still he continued to improve and enjoy himself.

"I learned a lot. It was real interesting and a lot of fun. There's more to racing than anyone knows," he said. "I learned a lot about setting up the car, the tires and how to race.

"I feel that I am a better driver now. With the money I had, I thought I did pretty good. It was tough out there, we were pretty much stock, nothing extra. My best finish was eighth. I feel pleased with it considering the experience and equipment the other drivers had."

Warehime's sponsors included S&B Hauling, Starview Excavating, King Enterprises, Blade Hair Design, Interstate Batteries and Bankard Automotive, all of Finksburg.

As the season neared a close, finances became tight and Warehime stopped three races from the end.

"I will help Jeff Young in the four-cylinders the rest of the year, then decide what I am going to do next year. I probably work on someone's car and maybe race a bit. Then I'll decide whether I'll get back in," he said.

Warehime sounds a little depressed now, but once the 1994 season starts, don't be surprised if he is back in the driver's seat. He is due for a change of luck.

Speedway schedule

Rain wiped out all the racing action last weekend. The two-day shows at Hagerstown and Trail-Way Speedways were rescheduled to this weekend.

Today, Hagerstown Speedway will have the 19th annual Hub-City National 150, the longest late-model race in the area. Trail-Way will be having its fourth annual National Open for micro-sprints, four- and eight-cylinders and street stocks.

Both 75-80 and Mason-Dixon Dragways will be racing today.

On the Eastern Shore, Delaware International Speedway will be playing host to its last show of the season featuring late models and modifieds.

Hagerstown Speedway will close its season with the Small Car Nationals next Sunday, and go-kart racing will bring the season to an end at Trail-Way Speedway.

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