Patiently, Dillman follows road traveled by father and uncle


September 21, 1997

It is no surprise that Wayne Dillman is involved in auto racing. His uncle, Denzil Dillman and his dad, Leon, were household names on the local dirt tracks of Dorsey and Westport Speedways during the '50s and '60s.

While the Sykesville resident never had the opportunity to watch his uncle, racing was in his blood. As soon as Dillman was old enough he wanted to race, but he knew it was something he couldn't do overnight.

Dillman started racing with a plan, a plan that would gradually take him to the fast and competitive sprint car circuit. Rather than rush into the unknown, Dillman slowly worked his way through the ranks to gain the experience he needed before tackling the challenges of sprint car racing.

"I started racing in 1981," said Dillman. "I wanted to start small and work my way up. I started on the asphalt in the 4-cyl mini-stocks at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas, Virginia. After two years, I knew that if I wanted to race sprints I would have to switch to dirt sooner or later, so I switched to the 4-cylinder modifieds and raced at Path Valley Speedway in Pa. Then the mini-sprints started, a 4-cyl sprint car and I drove them awhile until I felt that I was as far as I could go."

Dillman waited for the right opportunity to make the move to the super sprints. While he was racing in the different 4-cylinder divisions, he picked up valuable experience working with the Bobby Fletcher sprint racing team. After a couple of years in the 4-cylinder mini-sprints he made the giant step up to super sprint racing.

"I began driving super sprints about five years ago," said Dillman. "I am glad I did it when I did; the super sprint is really different from the previous car. The car reacts faster and it has so much more power. And the competition is just unbelievable."

The 38-year-old races with the super sprints at Williams Grove and Lincoln Speedways in central Pennsylvania. While the rest of the cars have 410 cubic-inch motors, Dillman races with a 358 cubic-inch limited sprint motor and has been very competitive. He has shown steady improvement with a couple of runner-up finishes in qualifying heats this year. Although Dillman could race with the limited sprints, he prefers to race with the faster super sprint drivers.

With limited resources, Dillman really appreciates the support that he gets from Nancy and Steve Kaffel of Clarksville Auto Center in Howard County, where he has worked for 14 years. Without them he wouldn't be able to race, he said. He also receives some support from WESCO in Harrisburg, Pa.

Dillman also appreciates a dedicated crew that includes Richard Whitecabbage of Sykesville, Billy Johnson of Elkridge and Chad Wolf of Biglerville, Pa.

"Having help is really nice," added Dillman. "I didn't always have someone with me until I started racing the sprints. There is so much to do, you just don't take the car home and park it until next week."

Despite being a low-budget operation, Dillman doesn't shy away from the competition. His next race will be at the Hagerstown Speedway on Saturday and Sunday for the track's Octoberfest program. Then the next two weeks he will be competing in season-ending, big-paying races at Williams Grove and Lincoln.

Next year, Dillman hopes to have a larger engine and two cars. In addition to running with the super sprints, he also plans on racing some shows with the United Racing Club, an established sprint organization that travels up and down the East Coast.

Weekend results

In late model racing, Gary Stuhler of Westminster turned in the hat trick over the weekend. Stuhler won at Bedford (Pa.) Speedway, Cumberland Raceway and Hagerstown Speedway. Charlie Schaffer of Hampstead finished second at Winchester (Va.) Speedway and third at Hagerstown Speedway. Bruce Leibowitz of Reisterstown was eighth in the pure stock feature at Hagerstown and Mike Walls of Taneytown was seventh in the 4-cyl pure stock main event. At Lincoln Speedway, Fred Cullum of Hampstead finished ninth in the thundercar feature and Judd Shepard of Finksburg finished 12th in the 358 sprint championship. Cris Eash of Woodbine was fourth in the National Sprint Open at Selinsgrove (Pa.) Speedway. In drag racing, Marvin Ford of Westminster was the winner in the motorcycle division at Mason-Dixon Dragway.

Pub Date: 9/21/97

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