Hampstead man pumped by muscle cars


October 16, 1994|By STAN DILLON

The popularity of MOPAR muscle cars has been on the increase. Every year, more MOPAR events are being conducted throughout the country, including dragways like 75-80 in Monrovia and Mason-Dixon in Hagerstown.

One person who has been a MOPAR fan all of his life is Jeff Doster of Hampstead. Doster has owned Plymouth muscle cars since he was able to drive.

The 35-year-old Doster has been racing since he was 18 and it has always been with a Plymouth Roadrunner, a MOPAR product that was a popular muscle car of the '60s.

"I was always fascinated with cars and speed," said Doster. "Aa kid I watched drag racing on TV and it was something I always wanted to do. The first time I tried it, it was fantastic. I got that natural high when I got out of the car and couldn't get enough of racing since."

Except for an eight-year period in the early '80s, Doster has been a regular at local dragways for 17 years. A little over 10 years ago, he took time out from racing to start his own business, Autos Unlimited, a body shop on Hanover Pike in Hampstead.

Doster's pride and joy is a 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner. He is only the second owner of the car. He had often told the original owner that if he ever wanted to sell the car to let him know.

Seven years ago, the opportunity came. Doster had been out oracing for nearly eight years. His friend talked him into taking the car to 75-80 to try it out. Like his very first trip down the quarter-mile, Doster felt that natural high coming back.

Doster returned to the track the next two weeks, purchased the car and has been racing it ever since.

"I've known that car since it was first sold," said Doster. "It means a lot to me. There isn't any amount that I would sell that car for."

This year, Doster turned it into a dual-purpose car. He made it street legal by adding mufflers and replacing the racing slicks with street tires.

"It is nice to be able to drive the car once in awhile," said Doster. "I enjoy the car more this way. I can get in it and drive it whenever I want. I don't drive it much on the street though at four miles per gallon."

The black Roadrunner is powered by the popular MOPAR 440-cubic-inch motor that produces approximately 650 horsepower. Doster's machine work is done by Carroll Morris Automotive of Manchester.

The car was capable of going 123 mph with an elapsed time of 11.08 seconds with straight exhaust and racing tires. Now the car is four-tenths of a second slower.

"I don't quite have it figured out," said Doster about the new set-up. "I can't get the street tires to hook up. Some times I just sit and spin at the starting line."

Doster realizes that he has to get the consistency back if his car is going to be competitive, especially at 75-80, where the competition is considered the most difficult of any local track.

Doster has purchased, traded and sold 19 Plymouth Roadrunners in 18 years. He has another 1968 Roadrunner close to completion that he has worked on when time permits for seven years.

"MOPARS is like racing, it's contagious. When you get bit by one, they bite you right. They just never let you go." said Doster.

In the near future he wants to run for points and race at the bracket finals at Maple Grove Raceway. He would even like to run nationally.

Weekend results

In late-model racing action last weekend, Gary Stuhler of Westminster set the fastest time at the Cumberland Raceway with a one-lap time of 20.9 seconds for the half-mile oval. Stuhler finished second to Rick Eckert of York, Pa., in the 50-lap event. Charlie Schaffer of Hampstead was 20th.

At Trail-Way Speedway, Westminster's Brad McClelland, Mike Stull and Steve Owings finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the micro-sprint feature. In the thundercars, Joe Brown and Corky Stull of Westminster finished in the fourth and fifth spots, respectively. Tim Harvey of Westminster was sixth and Gregg Messersmith of Hampstead followed in seventh. In the four-cylinder feature, Jeff Young of Westminster was second, Matt Barnes of Westminster was third, Mike Walls of Taneytown fifth and Craig Mann of Westminster sixth.

It was the Fall Ford Spectacular at 75-80 Dragway last weekend. Tom Humm of Taneytown defeated Lisa Peddicord of Westminster in the final round to win Class II. George Hoff of Westminster went four rounds. In Class I, Marion Hare of Millers ++ and Frank Gugliotta of Mount Airy went five rounds. Alan Palmer of Hampstead and Corey Hess of Taneytown went three rounds.

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