Blaylock returns to racing with AMCs

On Motor Sports

July 07, 1996|By Stan Dillon | Stan Dillon,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Gary Blaylock Sr. started drag racing in the '60s on narrow roads in the country. It was a time when the biggest and fastest car won. The young teen-ager would take his best friend's car or sneak out with his father's Impala to race against his friends.

Before long, Blaylock realized how dangerous it was and stopped. That was more than 30 years ago. Now the 47-year-old Millers resident has returned to racing in a big way. While most drivers race General Motors or Ford products, Blaylock is one of the few who races an American Motors car. And in a few weeks he will debut his second car.

Blaylock stayed interested in drag racing, visiting area tracks, but never with the intention of competing again. He was more interested in working on cars and restoring them.

"About four years ago, I began looking for a muscle car to restore," said Blaylock. "I looked at '68 Camaros and Mustangs, but it seemed like everyone had one. I wanted something different. I had some friends that had a 390 AMX, and I really liked them. One became available in Manchester, and I bought it as soon as I saw it. It was something I wasn't going to pass up."

The 1968 American Motors Javelin had become a victim of rust. But that didn't bother Blaylock; he wanted a car that didn't cost a lot money and one he could restore.

Over the next two years, Blaylock installed a new interior, had help from Calvin Orem with the major body work and did the painting himself. The work was completed last year.

Once the body was finished, Blaylock rebuilt the motor and the drive train. Then he decided to take the car up to 75-80 Dragway.

"I was just going to go one time, just to see what the car could do," said Blaylock. "But the bug bit me real hard. I never expected to like racing like this. I just didn't think it would be this much fun."

After making his first trip down the quarter-mile, Blaylock wanted to get the car's elapsed time into the 12-second range.

Blaylock spent most of last year working out the bugs that occur in a car that has been sitting idle for a few years. Clutch problems, broken axles and drive shaft kept him busy. Still, he managed to take home some trophies.

Earlier this year, Blaylock reached his goal in the 390-cubic inch Javelin, turning the quarter-mile in 12.85 seconds. Just when he thought his troubles were behind him, he blew the motor in his tow truck and has had to sit out the past couple of weeks. He hopes to be back this weekend.

Blaylock recently purchased a 1974 AMC Hornet that he expects to go much faster than his Javelin.

"I had the opportunity to get the car, so I bought it," said Blaylock. "It is an alcohol-injected car with a high RPM motor. It will produce 650 to 700 horsepower and will do a quarter-mile in the high 9-second range. I have a little work to do on it, replace the gauges and the front wheels. It will be a couple of weeks yet before I am ready. It needs a paint job, but that can wait. I want to get it out on the track as soon as I can."

Results

In drag racing last weekend, Corey Hess of Taneytown won the pro-class at Mason-Dixon Dragway. Joey Smith of Mount Airy won the Jr. Dragster Class II division. Rain cut short the program at 75-80 Dragway. Nathan Etzler of Mount Airy went to the semifinals in Class I before rain halted the action. Mike Stambaugh of Union Mills and Roger Jorss of Westminster were quarterfinalists in Class II. Bill Fifick of Woodbine was a semifinalist in the street class, and Carroll Countians Malcolm Ford, Gene Belt and Marvin Ford split the purse in the motorcycle division. In street cars on Sunday, Bob Sedlak of Westminster placed second and Douglas Campbell of New Windsor was third. Richard Fenner of Sykesville won the EFI class, Kenny Hill of Mount Airy won the Mustang class and Vicki Fenner of Sykesville won the powder-puff race.

Luke Dempsey of Westminster won in the quarter-midgets at Hagerstown.

In oval track action, rain postponed most of the racing at Hagerstown. Kenny Dillon of Owings Mills was fourth in the street stocks. Rick Jones of Westminster was third in the late-model feature at Winchester Speedway, and his brother Ernie was sixth.

Pub Date: 7/07/96

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