Parrish gets up to speed in a hurry


April 03, 1994|By STAN DILLON

"I am not the type of guy you would picture as a race car driver," said David Parrish, an electrical engineer for Westinghouse in Linthicum, who graduated from South Carroll High School and the University of Maryland.

Whether he fits the mold of a race car driver or not, the 27-year-old Westminster native has made himself at home in the seat of a micro-sprint and in less than two years has become one of the top competitors at the Trail-Way Speedway near Hanover, Pa.

Parrish was not very interested in motor sports until he went to watch an employee of his brother's business race. He enjoyed it so much he has been going ever since. First as a spectator, then as part of the crew, now as a driver.

"I first went to watch Steve [Owings] race because he works for my brother. Jerry had been telling me about him and invited me up to watch," said Parrish. "I went a few times, then started working on the pit crew and got interested in getting into it."

After a year of helping Owings with the car, he purchased it from him toward the end of the 1992 season and raced in the last seven races.

"I felt that I knew the car since I worked on it, so when Steve was going to sell it I purchased it," said Parrish. "I drove it around home on the farm first and got enough speed to feel comfortable with it before I bought it."

Like most drivers, Parrish remembers his first time in the car.

"I drew the No. 1 pill to start on the pole," he said. "I had all the other cars behind me. I was so new I had to ask how to bring the field around for the green. When the race started, you think you are going so fast til you see all the cars going by you. It was quite a different feeling."

By the end of the season, Parrish wasn't watching cars pass him, he was staying with them. He learned fast and had a top 10 finish by his seventh outing.

Last year was his first full season, and as a rookie he finished ninth in points against the top micro-sprint drivers in the area. Not bad for a driver who had never been to a race until three years ago.

"It took me a while to get used to it, to stay on the gas through the turn instead of letting off," said Parrish.

With the year under his belt, Parrish decided to purchase new equipment for the 1994 season.

"I purchased everything new," said Parrish. "I sold my car and brought a new Stallard chassis with a new engine. I wanted to go to the next level."

The micro-sprint racer is a scaled-down version of the super sprint. Parrish's car is powered by a Honda CRT 50 stock, 249 c.c., two-cycle engine. The engine limit is 270 c.c.

Racing is contagious. This year the entire Parrish family will be at Trail-Way every week. Dave's brother, Jerry Jr., who sponsors Owings' ride, has taken the same route. He decided to race and purchased a used car from Owings and will be starting his rookie season this year.

The brothers' parents go to the track every week with Jerry Sr. helping on the cars. Dave's wife, Michelle, is there every week and so is her father, John Myers.

Weekend results

Rain is still playing havoc with area motor sports events. Only Lincoln and Winchester speedways were able to get their programs on the books last weekend.

Last Saturday at Winchester Speedway, Gary Stuhler of Westminster won the 25-lap, late-model feature. Stuhler charged past pole-sitter Frank Fultz at the start and was never threatened en route to his first win of the year. Stuhler has won four of the last six races he competed in at Winchester. Rick Jones of Westminster edged Fultz for fourth on the final lap and Hampstead's Charlie Schaffer was 10th.

At Lincoln Speedway, Cris Eash of Woodbine won his qualifying heat and finished sixth in the 25-lap super-sprint feature. Jesse Wentz was 11th. John Moser of Westminster placed eighth in the semi-late main event, and Kenny Mirfin of Union Bridge was ninth in the thundercar feature.

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