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Mary Elizabeth Bannister, known to everyone as MEB, is a 14-year-old drag racer. MEB races National Hot Rod Association Junior Dragsters at the Mason Dixon Dragway in Hagerstown. Her car is one half the size of the Top Fuel dragster cars, with a one-cylinder 33-horsepower engine and a centrifugal clutch which is automatically in gear. It goes 80 miles per hour on a one-eighth mile track, but only has enough alcohol in the fuel tank to make it to the end of the track at racing speed.

At the end of each race, the winner's car is towed back to the starting line to race again, while the loser becomes a spectator for the remaining races that day. There is one winner at the end of each day in the junior class at the Dragway. MEB entered the Winners Circle on Saturday, Sept. 3, beating 20 other racers.

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The Glenelg resident attends school at Mount de Sales Academy in Catonsville, where she is in the ninth grade. She has been racing since she was 12. The Junior class of NHRA is open to young people from the age of 5 until they turn 18. At 16, they can start driving full-sized cars. MEB generally races at Mason Dixon Dragway, but she has driven at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tenn.

Her love of racing comes from her dad, Tom, who did some drag racing when he was younger. His first car was a 1971 Duster. In order to keep it on the road, he had to learn to work on it. He used to race at the 75/80 Dragway. As his children grew up, he took them to races around the area. MEB was very interested and decided she wanted to race once she saw the Junior Dragsters.

MEB's brother, Tom, races Super Comp Dragsters, racing at speeds over 160 miles per hour in the quarter mile. Dad Tom also has his NHRA license in Super Comp dragsters. Her mother Kitty, however, doesn't race and doesn't like to go to the races. She worried about them racing at first, but felt better when she saw all the safety equipment on the cars.

MEB is having a great time learning how to work on her car and take care of the equipment needed for racing. She likes the competition and especially likes all the friends she has made at the Dragway.

Christmas is almost here, and lots of events are planned at the local churches. Calvary Lutheran Church invites everyone to attend the annual German Christmas service on Saturday, Dec. 17, at 3 p.m. This traditional event includes a service in German, with the story of the nativity and "Stille Nacht," accompanied by a brass choir and followed by a coffee hour. Christmas Eve services on Saturday, Dec. 24, will include four celebrations featuring different types of music, communion and candlelight. On Sunday, Dec. 25, there will be a service at 11 a.m. For more information, call 410-489-5280 or go to www.calvarylutheranmd.net.

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Glenwood will be celebrating Christmas Eve with four different services, including a pageant, on Saturday, Dec. 24, alternating between the Parish House and the Historic Union Chapel. There will be three services on Sunday, Dec. 25. For more information call the parish office at 410-489-4035 or go to www.standrewsglenwood.org.

You can pick up a few last minute gifts at the Holiday Bazaar at Glenelg High School on Saturday, Dec. 17, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Admission is free.



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