Spicer, 13, chases wins, scholarships

MOTOR SPORTS

March 13, 1994|By STAN DILLON

For a young driver, Jarrod Spicer has set high goals for the 1994 season. The 13-year-old student at Mount Airy Middle School is focusing on the Jr. Drag Racing League National

Championships at Indianapolis Raceway Park in Indiana the last weekend in August.

Jarrod has his sights set on winning the U.S. Nationals and some of the $300,000 in college scholarships up for grabs.

Turning in a winning performance is not out of the question for the youngster from Woodbine. Although more than 800 drivers his age will be heading toward the nationals with the same goal, if past performances are any indication, Jarrod has as good a chance as anyone to win it all.

Last year, he had more than 20 wins in Jr. Comp Dragster competition at Mason-Dixon Dragway in Hagerstown and 75-80 Dragway in Monrovia.

Twice he went to the Jr. Dragster National event at Englishtown, N.J., and came away the top driver in his class. Last August in the Kendall Motor Oil Jr. Nationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, Jarrod not only won the Jr. Comp class, but won the King of the Hill championship as well.

He was featured in two National Hot Rod Association publications, the Jr. Drag Racing League News and Jr. Drag Racer.

Jarrod has accomplished all of this in his first year of racing in which he started off winning almost every week.

"I was cutting good lights and I had a good motor that was consistent," he said. "Things just went our way."

After his triumphs at the Jr. Nationals, his visits to victory lane dropped off toward the end of the year.

"We had the urge to break into the 10s [seconds]. So we began experimenting with the motor," said Jarrod. "We modified the pistons, heads and clutch apparatus, changed cams and switched from gas to alcohol to run a little quicker. We never could get the car dialed in real good after that."

Jarrod's quest for speed eventually was successful, and he became the first driver to break into the 10-seconds range. He recorded a 10.97-second time for a speed of more than 60 mph. Now he wants to be the first to top 70 mph.

Although the racing season has not started, Jarrod is preparing for his assault on the national championship at Indianapolis.

He will have a new lighter chrome alloy chassis with a carbon fiber body from Fabrications Inc. of Gaithersburg. He also will have a new 5-horsepower Briggs & Stratton block with stroker crank and roller cam built by Jeff Ohler of Taneytown.

With the new equipment, Jarrod will concentrate on dialing in for the nationals.

Jarrod has been around racing all of his life. His father, Lou, has been drag racing for more than 20 years. His older brother, Kevin, races with their father, and they will be racing a new Super Comp Corvette that does the quarter-mile in the mid-eight-second range. The Spicer family will be busy keeping both cars going this year.

Jarrod always wanted to race and was about ready to start out in go-kart racing. Before he got started, his father saw Michael Ford of Westminster in a Jr. Dragster.

The next week Jarrod's father took him to watch the new car. The Spicers quickly changed course because it allowed them to race at the same track together.

Jarrod races in the Jr. Comp division for cars with elapsed time of 11.99 seconds and quicker in an eighth of a mile. When he started, his elapsed time was in the high 11-second bracket around 50 mph.

Jarrod has the maturity and poise of a adult professional racer three times his age. His best subject in school is math and his favorite is social studies.

He is planning to attend college, but right now, he wants to win the nationals, then join his brother and father in the big cars when he turns 16.

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