It takes more than the one person to make a successful racing team. While the drivers receive most of the attention in motorsports, they will be the first to say that their success was zTC because of the crew that worked on the car. Whether it is racing on the local ovals or on the NASCAR circuit, successful drivers always have a good crew behind them.
While most young race fans dream of driving, there are many in motorsports who are content working as a crew member without any fanfare. One such person is Richard Green.
Known as "Greenie" to many, the Westminster native started helping drivers when he was a teen-ager. He now has been working on late-model cars for more than 30 years.
"Just about all the drivers in the area use to come around my father's junkyard for parts, motors, things like that," Green said. "So I just started helping any of them I could."
At first Green started helping drivers like Bud Woolford, Bill McClelland and the Devilbiss brothers. He did just about everything that needed to be done. It didn't matter what it was, just so he was able to be around racing and help them in any way he could.
Eventually in the mid-70s, Green hooked up with a young lanky kid named Gary Stuhler, who was just starting out driving for Doug Devilbiss. The two clicked. They have become the closest of friends and have been together ever since. They have been together so much that Green has been mistaken for Stuhler's father.
The story of Stuhler's success has been written about many times in most major trade publications. His career has grown to where he is the winningest late model driver the last 10 years in the northeast. Year in and year out, Stuhler has won big races at area tracks and on the road. Several times, including last year, Stuhler has won more features than any other late model driver. Green has been with him through it all.
Even when Stuhler switched rides, Green went with him. Stuhler got a big break when he teamed with car owner Bobby Allen of Baltimore in 1983. With Green, they went on the road and raced in the National Dirt Racing Association, winning Rookie of the Year. In 1985, Stuhler decided to make a change and drive for Ronnie Hayes, a successful car owner. Again, Green went with him.
"Gary has won over 100 feature events," said Green. "I have been there with him for every win except one at Selinsgrove in Pennsylvania. I didn't go to that one because I thought the price of the pit pass was too high since they had some NASCAR drivers there."
It is obvious that Green thinks of Stuhler as if he was his own son. The pair have become inseparable. Stuhler's admiration for Green is very high as well.
A Coca-Cola delivery driver during the week, Green, 52, considers himself a people person. He likes his job because it brings him in touch with others. And being around people is why he likes racing so much to give up almost every weekend a year.
Most of all, he enjoys watching Stuhler, on and off the track. "He is a good driver. He is fun to watch and is so smooth. He is just one of a kind, one of the best," said Green. "And Gary is a good man. It feels so good to be with someone like him, especially the way he treats the kids that come up to him for autographs after the races. He always finds time for them. It's just great."
Weekend after weekend, Green has never tired of the routine. Late Sunday night racing makes it tough on a man who has to get an early start on Monday. But to Green, being a part of Stuhler's team and being among friends is worth it all.
Like many members of pit crews, they all do what it takes. They know what is to be done and do it. Anything from giving Stuhler a can of Coke in victory lane to wiping off the car.
"We all work together," said Green. "There are no heroes. Everybody knows what has to be done. We all go ahead and do what has to be done. We work on the car two nights during the week. We go over the car Tuesday and get serious on Thursday. If the grass at Hayes' has to be cut, we even do that. It is a team effort."
Having a crew with people like Green makes Stuhler's job easier. All he has to do is drive the car, which he does with the same perfection his crew uses on the car. Together they have come to
be one of the best teams in racing.
In micro-sprint action last weekend at Trail-Way Speedway, Steve Owings of Westminster started clear back in 19th spot and worked his way to the front by the 11th lap and led the rest of the way for the win. David Parrish of Westminster was sixth and brother Jerry Parrish of Westminster was eighth. In the 4-cyl pure stock feature, Matt Barnes of Westminster edged his brother Matt in the 4-cyl feature.
Craig Mann of Westminster was fifth and Mike Walls of Taneytown seventh. Mark Royston of Hampstead was second in the Outlaw Quad feature. Steve Pollard of Westminster was sixth in the street stock feature and Jason Smith of Westminster was 10th. Brad McClelland finished second in the micro-sprint feature at Challenger Speedway.
At Winchester Speedway, Charlie Schaffer of Hampstead was second in the late model feature. At Hagerstown Speedway, Stuhler of Westminster had a second and third finish in the twin-20's late model features. Mike Walls of Taneytown started tenth in the 4-cyl pure stock feature and took the lead on the fourth lap to notch his second straight win. Brother Dennis was ninth.
At Williams Grove Speedway in super sprint action, Jesse Wentz of Manchester was seventh and Cris Eash of Woodbine was eight. Dave Haight was ninth. At Grandview Speedway, Eash was fifth and Wentz 10th.
At Lincoln Speedway, Dave Haight, formerly of Reisterstown, finished second. Don Zechman of Westminster was second in the semi-late feature, Kenny Mirfin of Union Bridge was ninth in the thundercar main event. Jeff Shepard of Upperco won the Club All-Star Circuit of Champions sprint car race at Belleville Ks. Speedway.