Local drivers take advantage of (finally) good weather


Area racers found the weekend to be one of the most successful thus far this season at both the national and local levels. The weather allowed the racing to go unhindered for the first time at many area tracks, and all racers took advantage of the good fortune.

pTC J. R. Gonyea of Mount Airy won the Top Dragster Class at the International Hot Rod Association Alabama Nitrous Nationals at Huntsville, Ala., last weekend to score one of the biggest wins ever by a Carroll driver.

Gonyea took home $5,400 for his efforts.

He dialed in an estimated time of 4.94 seconds for the final run and ran a 4.96 with a perfect 500.0 reaction time.

Overall, 32 cars raced in the field. The win, coupled with his second-place finish at the Winter Nationals at Darlington, S.C., in March puts Gonyea in first place in points in the IHRA World Championship.

"I can't believe this. I was shocked," said Gonyea about his win. "The car ran fine the whole weekend. "

Gonyea's car broke down in the final round at the Winter Nationals and it wasn't until he was at Huntsville that he found the problem -- a fuse hooked to the Transbrake.

Gonyea's next race will be the 28th Annual IHRA Spring Nationals at Bristol, Tenn., May 29-31. ESPN will televise the event.

Jim Fleming of Union Bridge competed in the Top Sportsman Class in his Firebird Top Gun in Huntsville. Fleming qualified, but lost in the second round.

In other motor sports news:

* Gary Stuhler of Westminster and Charlie Schaffer of Hampstead went head-to-head in two races and split the victories.

At the Winchester Speedway in Winchester Va. Stuhler won the 35-lap late model spring championship and $1,500 Saturday.

Stuhler finished with a 10-length lead over runner-up Will Rowe after passing Rowe on lap 29. Driving in the Riverside Auto Parts No. 44, Stuhler worked his way steadily up from 10th place at the start to fifth place by lap nine.

Stuhler spent 16 laps trying to reel in Rowe after passing Schaffer on lap nine and Doug Burkholder on lap 10.

Schaffer, who started in the sixth row, turned in a solid performance at Winchester to take fourth place.

But Schaffer had the upper hand the previous night, as he defeated Stuhler at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, With two laps to go in the 20-lap late model feature, Schaffer and Stuhler were side-by-side. Schaffer eased across the finish line and ended a three-year dominance of the late models by Stuhler at the Grove. Stuhler had won four in a row and eight of his last 12 starts at Williams Grove.

Schaffer was also fourth in the late models Sunday at Susquehanna Speedway in Newberrytown, Pa. and Ernie Jones of Westminster was second in the consolation.

* Cris Eash, formerly of Woodbine and now a Hanover resident, had the lead in the sprint feature Friday at Williams Grove until the 12th lap and was in second until two laps from the finish, but wound up third.

* Mike Harrison of Mount Airy lead after two laps of the 20-lap limited late model feature and raced side-by-side with Brent Smith for one lap before Smith took the lead. Harrison had to settle for second at Hagerstown Speedway.

* It was a day for Mount Airy residents at the 75-80 Dragway in Monrovia, Frederick County, Sunday.

Joe Mayne led three Mount Airy resident in the Class I competition by winning the event in his dragster. Don Leonard made it to the semifinals in his Fairmont and Ronnie Carroll, driving his MG, was in the quarterfinals.

Roger Jorss of Sykesville advanced to the semifinals in Class II. Chris Hruska of Mount Airy and Jim Myers of Hampstead made it to the quarterfinals in Class II.

Carol Hensen of Mount Airy won the Funny Car Competition with a track record elapsed time of 6.32.

* Woody Etzler of Mount Airy was third in the Super-Pro Class Sunday at Mason Dixon Dragway in Hagerstown.



* Susquehanna Speedway, Newberrytown, Pa.: California Racing Association wingless sprints, plus limited late models and thundercars; $10,000 purse; racing starts at 7 p.m. (717) 938-9170.

* 75-80 Dragway, Monrovia: Regular points races and Mother's Day race for women; racing starts at 7 p.m. (301) 865-5102.

* Mason-Dixon Dragway, Hagerstown: Ninth Annual Mopar Meet with car show, swap meet and drag racing; gates open at 8:30 a.m., time trials at noon and eliminations at 3 p.m. (301) 791-5193.


* Trail-Way Speedway, Hanover, Pa.: Micro-sprints, four- and eight-cylinder stocks and enduro; racing starts at 8 p.m. (717)624-2755.

* Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Sprints, late models and sportsmen; racing starts at 8 p.m.


* Hagerstown Speedway, Hagerstown Md: Six feature program including an $8,000 purse for first place in the twin late model features, plus modified, semi-lates and pures stock daredevils and four-cylinder mini-stocks. (301) 582-0640.

* Winchester Speedway, Winchester Va.: Budweiser Night featuring late models, semi-lates, pure stock and four-cylinder. (703) 667-8143.

* Lincoln Speedway, Hanover, Pa: Sprints, semi-lates, thundercars and 120-lap enduro; Gates open at 5:30 p.m., racing starts at 7. (717) 624-2755.

* Trail-Way Speedway, Hanover, Pa.: Cycles; racing starts at 1 p.m. (717) 624-2755.

Next Sunday

* Susquehanna Speedway, Newberrytown, Pa.: Sprints, late +V models and thundercars; racing starts at 7 p.m. (717) 938-9170.

* 75-80 Dragway, Monrovia: Regular points races; racing starts at 7 p.m. (301) 865-5102.

* Mason-Dixon Dragway, Hagerstown: Trophy Challenge plus regular classes; gates open at 10:30 a.m., time trials at noon and eliminations at 3 p.m. (301) 791-5193.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad