Woodbine's Fifrick scores national win

On Motor Sports

July 21, 1996|By Stanley Dillon | Stanley Dillon,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Three weeks ago, Bill Fifrick of Woodbine had a day that he will never forget. Driving a 1990 Ford Mustang 5.0, Fifrick put together eight great rounds to win his class at the Ford Motorsports Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa. It was a day that everyone dreams of, but very few get the opportunity to experience it.

"It was a lot of racing," said Fifrick. "No one red-lighted on me, so I had to work every round. I dialed in 12.55 seconds for my elapsed time and never changed it all day."

Fifrick's confidence grew with each run. His car was consistent on every run and several times Fifrick would let off the gas the last 60 feet so he wouldn't run out.

"I was really worried on the final round," Fifrick added. "I left so early that I thought I had red-lighted. When it didn't come on, I knew I had a good enough time to win the race. My reaction time on the final run was 5.02. I was happy with that."

The near-perfect light was all the young driver needed to win his first big national event. The competition is never easy at a national event. There were 130 cars from all over the East Coast in the class, and Fifrick went home with all the money and trophies.

The win at Maple Grove shouldn't have surprised Fifrick. His year at 75-80 Dragway has been a good one. He has won a race at the local track and is fifth in the point standings in the new street eliminator division.

Fifrick, 29, has not been racing very long. He always had been a race fan, but never competed. Then three years ago, he went to the track with a friend. After watching a few runs, his friend persuaded him to take his car out for a test run. Fifrick has been racing ever since.

Most of the time, Fifrick has been racing with other Mustang 5.0 enthusiasts. Like other Mustang owners, he was always trying to improve the performance of his car with new parts, then go to the dragway to test and tune his car. Some parts worked, some didn't. At first, he was more interested in seeing how fast he could make the car go and keep it street legal than actual racing.

This year, when 75-80 added the new class for street cars, Fifrick decided to join and race for the points. It forced him to concentrate more on consistency this year which has paid off with his win in the Nationals.

The Mustang of Fifrick was his first performance car. When he purchased it, he had no intention of racing it.

"I wanted a fast car, a fast car with horsepower and rear wheel drive. I have had good service from the foreign cars I have owned, but they didn't make what I wanted," explained Fifrick. "I didn't have good service from another manufacturer, so I tried a Mustang and I loved it. It had the power to weight ratio I wanted and it gives you that seat of pants feeling. It is car I can work with and have something that was pretty fast. I had no intention of ever racing the car."

Fifrick's very first run at 75-80 was a slow one. His Mustang completed the quarter-mile in 15.89 seconds. Since that time, he has taken the car from 89 miles per hour to as fast as 119 miles per hour with elapsed time of 11.72 seconds.

"The engine is still stock," said Fifrick. "I have made a lot of other changes to the car though. I have installed a roll bar, changed the suspension and installed twin turbos. I went to the turbos because they are more reliable. They are always there when you need them."

Fifrick has come a long way in three years. Now he is shooting for the track championship in what already has been a fantastic year.

Results

Racing results from last weekend:

Joe Mayne of Mount Airy won Class I at 75-80 Dragway. Reuben Standifer of Sykesville was runner-up, Chuck Taylor of Westminster went four rounds in his first time out. In Class II, Mickey Kappes of Westminster was runner-up and Steve Cavey of Westminster was quarterfinalist. Charlie Spielman of Taneytown and Steve Dustin of Westminster each went three rounds. Dan Lawton of Woodbine was runner-up in the street eliminator class. Marvin Ford of Westminster and his brother, Malcolm of Hampstead, were finalists in the motorcycle division.

At Lincoln Speedway, Cris Eash of Woodbine won the Daryl Gohn Memorial super sprint feature. It was Eash's sixth win of the year. Eash finished third in the second sprint feature. Don Zechman of Westminster was third in the semi-late feature, Ron Spencer of Westminster was fifth and Randy Zechman of Westminster was eighth.

At Hagerstown Speedway, Gary Stuhler of Westminster was second in the late model feature, Charlie Schaffer of Hampstead was sixth. Kenny Dillon of Owings Mills was eighth in the pure stock main event and Mike Walls of Taneytown was seventh in the 4-cylinder feature.

Donnie Moran will be part of a special tailgate part at Hagerstown Speedway next weekend. Race fans wearing Big Johnson and Moran T-Shirts will receive two free special beverage coupons.

Pub Date: 7/21/96

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