McClelland, area drivers make '97 year to remember


January 04, 1998|By Stan Dillon | Stan Dillon,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The 1997 season was good for Carroll County drivers. From drag racing to oval tracks, many local drivers finished in the top 10 in points standings, as well as taking home their share of feature wins.

Brad McClelland had a year he will never forget on the oval tracks. The Westminster driver won 31 micro-sprint features, the most of any driver in the northeast. McClelland dominated Trail-Way Speedway, winning 18 of 27 races. He also captured his third consecutive championship at the Hanover, Pa., track and finished ninth in points at the Shippensburg (Pa.) Speedway.

Steve Owings of Westminster, McClelland's teammate, finished second in micro-sprint points with three feature wins, followed by Jerry Parrish of Westminster in fourth.

In other divisions at Trail-Way, Mark Shorb of Westminster finished fourth and John McDonogh of Finksburg was eighth. Matt Barnes' four wins enabled him to finish second in the 4-cylinder stock division. M. E. Meadowcroft of Westminster was 10th. Charles Kinser of Hampstead was 11th in the street stock standings.

Gary Stuhler of Westminster led all late-model drivers with 20 feature wins. Stuhler traveled where the money was this season and picked up his wins at five different speedways. Included in his victories were three wins on the Short Track Auto Racing Series. It was the eighth time in 10 seasons that Stuhler had 10 or more wins.

Late-model driver Charlie Schaffer of Hampstead finished fourth in points at Hagerstown Speedway with one feature win. Paul Crowl of Upperco managed to finish ninth despite being out of action for four weeks after suffering a neck injury in a horrifying backstretch crash. Crowl picked up the hard-luck driver award for his misfortune.

Four-cylinder pure stock driver Mike Walls of Taneytown finished eighth in points at Hagerstown after a late start. Walls had one feature win at Trail-Way. Kenny Dillon of Owings Mills was fourth in the pure-stock division with one feature win.

In sprint car racing, Cris Eash of Woodbine finished second to Fred Rahmer at the Lincoln Speedway and fifth in points at the Williams Grove Speedway. Eash had seven feature wins and the most heat wins with 26. Each also had the most fourth-place finishes of any sprint driver with 14 and the most fifth-place finishes with nine.

Jesse Wentz of Manchester had two feature wins at Lincoln and finished sixth in points. Jeff Shepard of Upperco had eight feature wins at five tracks, including an All-Star win at Brownstown, Ind. Fred Cullem of Hampstead was seventh in the thunder-car point standings at Lincoln.

Bill Bollinger of Westminster had four wins en route to the Classic Car Championship. Martin Graybach of Finksburg, Bill Brown of Woodbine, Garn Goodwin of Reisterstown and Glenn Elliott of Eldersburg each had three feature wins, followed by Tim Startt of Westminster with two wins and Dwayne Fabrick of Arcadia with one.

Carroll County drivers walked off with most of the honors in drag racing at 75-80 Dragway. Joe Mayne of Mount Airy won the track championship in Class I and Gene Belt of Taneytown won the track championship in the motorcycle division while his brother, Dave Belt, of Westminster kept it all in the family by capturing the motorcycle championship at Mason-Dixon Dragway in Hagerstown with six wins.

Robert Pare of Union Bridge won the Class II Heavy Eliminator championship against more than 319 cars in the Craftsman National Hot Rod Association Northeast Division Bracket Finals at Maple Grove Raceway.

In Class I competition at 75-80, Sev Tingle of Mount Airy was fourth in points, followed by George Hoff of Westminster in fifth. Cliff Peddicord of Westminster was 10th. Glenn Mason of Reisterstown was the top driver in Class II, followed by Steve Dustin of Westminster in second. Chris Hruska of Mount Airy, Robert Pare of Union Bridge, Mickey Kappes of Westminster and Roger Jorss of Westminster finished fourth through seventh and Ed Talbert of Lisbon was 11th. Mark Hoff of Westminster was third in points in the motorcycle division and Tim Lippy of New Windsor fourth.

Bobby Spielman of Taneytown finished sixth in points in Class I at Mason-Dixon with Donnie Hess of Taneytown 13th while son Corey Hess of Taneytown was second in Class II.

Pub Date: 1/04/98

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