Working on the sidelines a drag for driver Ludwig

Motor Sports

November 03, 1996|By Stanley Dillon | Stanley Dillon,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

This has been a tough season for Jason Ludwig. He has been on the sidelines most of the year with mechanical problems, but that hasn't kept him away from the track. Instead of sitting home, he has been at the track helping other drivers with their cars.

"It would be hard just sitting and trying to watch and not racing," said Ludwig. "Being in the pits with everyone is still fun, but it's not as much fun as racing. Helping the other drivers takes your mind off the fact you don't have a car, but I'd still rather be out there."

Ludwig became interested in drag racing three years ago through a friend he played soccer with, Jason Warehime. They went to 75-80 Dragway one night, and Ludwig decided to give racing a try, making a couple runs in his six-cylinder pick-up. It wasn't fast, but it was all he needed to get hooked on racing.

Ludwig raced a season in the trophy class, and a year later he felt he was ready to get something a little faster. He purchased a 1986 5.0 Ford Mustang from Ron McCall and became friends with several other Mustang owners who live in Carroll County.

That friendship has helped Ludwig survive this season.

"My car was basically stock with elapsed-time around 13 seconds," said the 21-year old driver, who is rebuilding the vehicle's engine after the lifters broke and tiny metal pieces got down into the rest of the engine.

"Since I had to do some motor work, I decided to add some performance parts, like Ray Whittingham, McCall and some of the other guys have installed. I am installing aluminum heads and a Vortex Supercharger with 15 pounds of boost to it. I should be able to lower my [elapsed] time to 10.5 seconds for the quarter-mile."

Racing with the 5.0 Mustang owners from Carroll County has paid off, not only in friendship, but networking as well.

The drivers share technical information and help one another. That way not everyone has to learn by trial-and-error. If a new. after-market performance part works on one car, other drivers may add it.

The group also knows where to take their cars for mechanical and machine work.

Ludwig, who lives in Westminster, is having his engine work done by Manchini Machine Shop and his heads worked on by Pete Suter in Taylorsville. He is taking his time making sure the work is done right.

But he's also anxious to get his car back together. If everything goes well, he will be back on the track for the last couple races of the season this month.

"If I get the heads back, I'll try and assemble it and get it running before the end of the season to get the bugs out," added Ludwig. "But I don't want to rush. I want to do it right the first time. I don't want to rush it and have something go wrong and have it cost me more money. It's been a long process.

"I wanted to make the car faster but didn't want to take it off the street," said Ludwig. "I still want to be able to drive it a couple times a week. It is a lot of fun making the car fast and consistent yet maintaining the car street-legal."

Ludwig, who hopes to race in the pro-stock class, hasn't stayed completely off the track this year. He raced a Ford Lightning pick-up in the special class a couple times at special Ford events.

Results

Trail-Way Speedway: Westminster's Brad McClelland won another micro-sprint feature last weekend. Mike Stull of Westminster was fourth. Mark Shorb of Westminster was fourth in the eight-cylinder stock main event and Mick Zechman was eighth.

Hagerstown Speedway: Don Zechman was 10th in the semi-late feature.

Pennsboro Speedway: Gary Stuhler of Westminster was sixth in the Dirt Track World Championship at this West Virginia track.

Pub Date: 11/03/96

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