Iwicki's learning curve shrinking with each race


April 24, 1994|By STAN DILLON

Kart racing at the Monrovia Raceway finally got under way last Sunday, and it was a day that Matt Iwicki won't forget.

The Finksburg native started off his second year of racing by winning the qualifying heat and then edging Billy Tweeden of Virginia to capture his first career feature win in the Yamaha Senior Sportsman division.

But there was a tense moment for Iwicki after the race when he was weighed at the scales. He came up about 10 pounds under the minimum weight and stood a chance of losing his first win.

Then he noticed the scale was rigged so he would be light, thanks to the track officials and his wife, Catherine, who wanted to have some fun with Iwicki on his first win.

While most participants in motor sports get their start because ,, another family member was involved, Iwicki, 29, became interested from watching NASCAR racing.

He attended several races at Dover International Speedway and became a real fan of Alan Kuwicki. The more he watched racing, the more he wanted to try it.

When Iwicki graduated from college in Virginia, he returned to the Finksburg area and began to think seriously about racing.

"I always wanted to race," said Iwicki. "I finally got out of school and began to look into it since I finally had some pocket cash. I started at the top and worked my way down. I knew I couldn't afford NASCAR racing, so I worked my way down until I found something I could afford.

"I spoke to John McDonogh about racing in the street stock division he races at Trailway Speedway, but I didn't have the time to spend on it that it required. John had a friend that helped with the mechanical work, I didn't.

"I looked at bikes, but it was too dangerous. Then I spoke to Charles Brittain, who races karts on the dirt track at Hunterstown and he got me interested in them. He sent me to Jim Wainwright."

The next thing Iwicki knew, he was ready to go kart racing. Since he didn't want to race on dirt, he decided to race at Monrovia Raceway next to 75-80 Dragway.

His next task was to select a division to race in. He selected the fastest karts they had -- the Yamaha Heavy class -- not for the speed, but because the two-cycle engine was the affordable way to go and easier to maintain than the popular four-cycle Briggs & Stratton engines used in most of the other divisions.

Iwicki did well in his first year. Although he didn't win any races, he was consistent and it paid off with a second-place points finish. Now, he has a win to his credit.

Monrovia is a three-tenths mile road course with an assortment of left and right turns. It can be very strenuous on the arms and shoulders.

Iwicki said he felt that one of the reasons he adapted so well to kart racing was his past experience as a weight lifter and body builder. He didn't tire and he was able to drive more relaxed and focused than most beginners.

This year, Monrovia started a new class, a custom-designed one that is more affordable called the Yamaha Sr. Sportsman. It is in the experimental stage for the International Karting Association.

The new class has restrictions on the exhaust pipe and the tires. Both rules help keep cost down. The exhaust pipe will stay the same length each year and the tires have a harder compound that cuts tire wear in half.

Weekend results

At Lincoln Speedway Saturday night, Randy Zechman of Westminster finished third in the semi-late feature. Howard Williams of Westminster was eighth and Kenny Angell of Westminster rounded 10th. In the thundercar main event, Kenny Murfin of Union Mills was sixth.

Cris Eash of Woodbine continued to dominate the super sprint racing at Selinsgrove Speedway by winning the feature. Eash placed ninth Friday night at Williams Grove in its sprint feature.

In late-model action at Winchester Speedway, Rick Jones of Westminster was sixth in the 25-lap feature and Doug Devilbiss of Westminster was 10th.

Gary Stuhler of Westminster had his second runner-up finish in two weeks at Hagerstown Saturday night. Stuhler also has two third-place finishes this year. Charlie Schaffer of Hampstead was sixth.

Steve Owings of Westminster placed third in the micro-sprint feature at Greenwood Valley in Orangeville, Pa. Mike Stull of Westminster won the micro-sprint feature at Trail-Way Speedway.

At 75-80 Dragway Sunday, Tim Peters of New Windsor won the super comp division, Corey Hess of Taneytown won Class I competition, Jim Peddicord was winner in Class II and Josh Wagner was runner-up in the Jr. Dragster.

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