For Westminster's Rich Dorsey, hitting track is true family affair


It is no surprise that Rich Dorsey of Westminster is into auto racing. He lived next to the Dorsey Speedway in Howard County and spent every Saturday night at the defunct quarter-mile oval.

His father, Richard, drove every week in the wild and daring figure-eights, and his mother, Alice, raced in the street stocks.

All the younger Dorsey could think about was racing with them. After years of watching, it came as no surprise when Rich joined the rest of the family to race.

"I started driving in enduros in 1984," said Dorsey, 26. "I didn't have a truck or trailer, so I drove the car down the road a way right to the track. I didn't have a windshield or a muffler."

Once Dorsey experienced his first enduro (a 100-lap or more race for amateur drivers), he was hooked on driving. Unfortunately, Dorsey Speedway closed a year later, forcing him to look elsewhere.

Over the next several years, Dorsey continued to compete in the enduros at area speedways. But because enduros aren't contested weekly at any track, they weren't satisfying his desire to race.

So, he began looking into moving up a class where he could race on a regular basis. But with Dorsey Speedway closed, the closest track was more than two hours away.

It wasn't until he moved to Westminster a few years ago that Dorsey was able to look into racing another division seriously. The move to Carroll County put Dorsey closer to Trail-Way and Lincoln Speedways in Hanover, Pa., tracks that had stock divisions suitable for rookie drivers.

At the end of last year, Dorsey made his move. He purchased an old 1973 Ford LTD to race in the 8-cylinder division. By the beginning of the 1993 season, with the help of his employer, A&L; Garage Door in Westminster, the car was ready.

Although Dorsey didn't set the world on fire, he considered his first year a success. Like for most rookies, the first season was one of learning. Each week he improved and was as high as eighth in the points. The season was one of trial and error.

"I learned a lot," Dorsey said. "We had a little engine, a 400-cubic-inch engine with only a two-barrel and cast-iron intake on it, so we did pretty good staying with the bigger and faster cars. Klair Stonesifer helped us a lot. He helped me with setup and to get the push out of the car. He's been a big help along with C&O; Distributors."

Dorsey enjoyed racing so much he began building a car for next season, but he set out to build a car that would be more competitive.

"We are building a 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle for next year," Dorsey said. "We started with a Ford because that's what I raced in enduros with and could use parts from that. I am switching to Chevelle now because it will be easier to find parts. I also plan to have a larger motor. If I hadn't use the Ford, I wouldn't have been able to start as soon as I did."

With the track season over, Dorsey is busy building the new car for next year. The Chevelle, a car that recently ran on the street, will be gutted and a roll cage installed.

"I am going to try one more year in this class with a faster and better car and see how I do before I jump up into another division," said Dorsey.

During the past year, Dorsey's mother returned to racing after a long absence to compete in the powder-puff derby. She finished third in her first race at Trail-Way.

Although his mother's time has been devoted to raising show horses, she has been hinting to her son about returning to racing on a regular basis. It is not unusual to see father-and-son teams, but a mother-and-son team is rare.

Weekend results

In oval-track racing, Cris Eash of Woodbine won the 30-lap super-sprint feature at the Bridgeport (N.J.) Speedway to cap off a very successful racing relationship with his dad, Dave. Dave Eash will be getting out of racing as a car owner and Cris will be taking over the ride of his brother, Darren. Cris grabbed the lead on Lap 11 and led the rest of the way for the win.

In other oval-track racing, Fred Harden of Hampstead finished 10th in the Delaware State Late Model Championship at the Delaware International Speedway.

In go-karts competition at Trail-Way Speedway, Mike Devilbiss of Westminster won the limited modified heavy class.

The season ended at 75-80 Dragway on Nov. 14. It will resume March 6. In Class I competition (7.50 to 11.99 seconds), George Paul of Mount Airy was runner-up and Joe Henry of Mount Airy went three rounds. Westminster's Larry Hoff and Randy Will each won three rounds. Two-round winners were Corey Hess of Taneytown, Ray Lewis of Woodbine and Rick Holland of Westminster.

Scott Lowman of Woodbine was runner-up in Class II (12.0 seconds and slower) competition. Mike Stambaugh of Union Bridge won three rounds. Dave Belt of Taneytown won the motorcycle division.

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