Maple Grove kind to Westminster drivers

MOTOR SPORTS

October 09, 1994|By STAN DILLON

Last weekend, several Carroll County drivers competed in the Sears Craftsman ET Finals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa. Westminster's Cliff Peddicord and Marvin Ford were big winners.

On the oval track, Gary Stuhler of Westminster once again turned back the top late-model drivers in the country to win the Miller High Life Winchester 200 at Winchester Speedway in Virginia.

Peddicord started racing in August when he got his driver's license. Two weeks after his first trip down the track, he won the high school race and the opportunity to represent 75-80 Dragway and South Carroll High School in the E.T. Racing Series at Maple Grove. Last Sunday, Peddicord beat the top high school drivers from 18 other tracks.

The win didn't come easy. After two days of several timing runs on Thursday and Friday, the eliminations began Saturday night. Peddicord won the first round before rain postponed the rest of ** the program to Sunday. But the delay didn't affect the sophomore.

"I was more pumped up than nervous," said Peddicord. "A nervous man never wins."

When the racing resumed on Sunday, Peddicord dialed his time down a little for the weather change and kept on winning. Round after round, Peddicord beat his opponents from U.S. 13 Dragway and then South Mountain Dragway.

In the final round, he faced Paul Klein of Maple Grove. Peddicord dialed a 13.10 and raced a 13.34-second quarter-mile with a .579 reaction time. His 1967 Ford Fairlane reached 99 mph for the win.

"I knew he ran out," said Peddicord. "He left the line before I did and I caught him and touched the brakes so I would run close to my dial-in. He ran out by three-hundreds of a second under his dial-in."

One of the big events that everyone looks forward to at the ET Finals is the Race of Champions for each division. For the second year in a row, Ford was 75-80's champion in the motorcycle class.

Last year he went three rounds before being eliminated. This year he returned with one goal, to win the champions race.

There were champions from 21 tracks in the Bike Race of Champions. Ford's performance was phenomenal. He was so consistent that his times for each trip down the quarter-mile were almost identical. In 13 runs down the track, including

practice runs, Ford's times were all within five-hundreds of a second from one another.

Ford won the first round by just two-thousands of a second. Round after round Ford dialed a 8.7 and was always on the money. In the third round he raced against Brian Fandel of Mount Airy and beat him. In the final round, Ford reached almost 140 mph on his 1991 Kawasaki as he beat Peter Trick of New England Dragway.

"Once I got over the first-round jitters I was OK. I really felt good. I was extremely, extremely lucky," said the 32-year.

After Ford won the Race of Champions Friday, he went four rounds on Saturday. It was a good weekend for Ford and 75-80.

75-80 Dragway placed fifth and Mason-Dixon Dragway was 10th among the 21 tracks from throughout the Northeast and Canada that were represented. Mason-Dixon Dragway also received the F.C. Fitts Team Spirit Award.

Steve Dustin, 24, of Westminster went to the Class II semifinals. He went eight rounds against more than 100 competitors. During his runs, Dustin had a perfect 500 light and ran his dial-in five of the eight runs.

"It was my race to win," said Dustin about his final run where he broke out by seven-thousandths of a second.

Reuben Standifer of Mount Airy went five rounds in Class I.

On the oval tracks, Stuhler once again rose to the occasion when big money is on the line. Last weekend, the Short Track Auto Racing Stars sanctioned the 21st running of the Miller Genuine ++ Draft 200 at Winchester Speedway in Virginia.

Stuhler has had good success against the traveling professional drivers. Last July, he traveled to Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway, won its 100-lap event and pocketed $10,000. Sunday, he turned them back again.

Stuhler started on the pole after winning the -- for the fast six. He was fourth-fastest in time trials as 62 cars tried to qualify. He quickly moved in front and led every lap of the 100-lap event on the 3/8 -mile clay oval.

Stuhler has dominated this fall classic at Winchester the past 10 years. His amazing record in the 200 now shows six wins, three seconds and a third. During the regular season, he won five times in six visits to the Virginia speedway. Stuhler pocketed $11,000 for the win.

Weekend results

In drag racing action at 75-80, Buddy Wilson of Westminster went to the semifinals in Class I. Mike Queen of Mount Airy went three rounds. Roger Jorss of Westminster, who just missed out of the top 16 for Maple Grove, won Class II competition. Matt Spriggs of Westminster went five rounds, and Mike Stambaugh of Union Bridge went four rounds.

On the oval track at Trail-Way Speedway, Brad McClelland of Westminster placed second in the micro-sprint feature, Mike Stull of Westminster was fourth and Steve Owings was fifth. Jerry Parrish of Westminster was seventh and Wayne Karcher of Upperco was ninth. In the thundercar feature, Corky Stull of Westminster was third, Mark Shorb of Westminster was fifth, Gregg Messersmith of Hampstead sixth, John McDonogh of Finksburg was eighth and Bradley Green of Westminster was ninth. In the four-cylinder division, Jeff Young of Westminster was third, Matt Barnes of Westminster fifth and Craig Mann of Westminster sixth. Randy Enos of Manchester placed fourth in the street stock feature.

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