Ervan Hare has always enjoyed drag racing. He attended tracks as a spectator as often as he could. But it wasn't until eight years ago that the 44-year old began to race.
"I was interested in drag racing since I was a teen-ager," said the Mount Airy resident. "My friend had a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda that he raced and I went with him.
"Then I went into the military service, so I didn't have a car to race, but I always went to a drag track near where I was stationed. Many times I would hitchhike out to the track and was there without a ride back. Whether I was stationed in Jacksonville, Memphis or Oceana, Va., I always found a track to go to."
After the service, Hare went to work for Communications Satellite Corporation in Clarksburg and settled down to start a civilian life. He continued to attend local races, looking forward to the time that he felt he could afford to race.
Eight years ago, he found a Chevy Nova for sale. He felt it was the car he wanted to race. To purchase the car, Hare sold his 1966 Chevrolet Corvette.
When Hare purchased the Nova, he planned to drive the car on the road as well as race it. But he spun a bearing in the motor shortly after he raced it and quickly changed his mind.
The 1974 Nova is a special-edition American Eagle powered by a 350-cubic-inch Chevrolet engine. It is the only car that Hare has ever raced. Most drivers switch cars every couple of years, but Hare has had no desire to own another car.
"I have been partial to the car," said Hare. "I enjoy racing it and have done well with it. I prefer it over a dragster because it is a recognizable car. I can't have a car that requires too much labor since I have to do it all myself."
Hare has been pleased with his accomplishments over the past eight years. He has been to the Class I bracket finals at Maple Grove Raceway twice and missed making the trip one year by one point. Three years ago, he won the Class I Wild Card race, which paid $5,000, and gained an automatic berth for the bracket finals.
After racing mostly in Class I, Hare switched to Class II this year when the rules were changed at the start of the season. Before the change, Class II was for cars with elapsed times of 12.0 seconds to 19.99. This year, electronic devices were banned from the class and the elapsed time lowered to 11.0.
"I wasn't up to the electronics," said Hare. "I might have been if I had all the resources. So I just switched to Class II."
Although the Nova is capable of turning the quarter-mile in 10.90 seconds, Hare has settled into a 11.5-seconds elapsed time.
Last Sunday, Hare was runner-up at Mason-Dixon Dragway against a large field of cars. He had planned on racing today in the final race, but he dropped his valve on the last run. Still he ended the season with a fine performance.
During the off-season Hare will work on his motor and go over the rest of the car for the 1995 season opener in March. While other drivers will be buying new cars for next year, Hare will be back in his Nova, looking to make another trip to the bracket finals.
Last weekend, Joe Mayne of Mount Airy and Reuben Standifer of Monrovia went to the semifinals in Class I competition at Mason-Dixon Dragway. Brian Weaver of Saxton, Pa., was the winner. In Class II, Hare was runner-up to Jim Berry of Frederick. Ed Talbert of Lisbon went to the semifinals. Brian Fandel of Mount Airy won the motorcycle class and Robert McGraw of Sykesville went to the semifinals.
Mason-Dixon Dragway will close its 1994 season today.