Robbie Hudlow of Mount Airy is working hard to achieve his goal. The former water skiing champion wants to race professionally.
Since giving up his skis to race 10 years ago, he has steadily work toward his goal, winning 57 races. At 25, he has accomplished more than most drivers achieve in a lifetime.
At first, it looked like Hudlow would not follow in his grandfather's footsteps. His grandfather, Bob Luck, was a former national record holder and national champion. Luck retired before Hudlow was able to see him race, so he did not know much about the sport.
His sport was water skiing. He started entering contests along the East Coast when he was 11. He won the Virginia state championship two years in a row.
After accomplishing all that he could in skiing, his interest turned to cars. At 15, he purchased a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 in need of repair. While restoring the car, he went to 75-80 Dragway to watch a friend's father race. He liked what he saw.
After he completed his restoration project, he sold the car for twice the money he paid for it. Then he turned around and purchased another '69 Camaro. But this car was different, it was fast and race ready for the drag strip. It upset his family at first, purchasing a car he couldn't drive on the street.
Before he had his license, he was racing. Hudlow wanted to go fast right from the start. He began racing in the Super Pro Division (Class I today). Normally, drivers work their way up to Class I speeds, but Hudlow was racing near the mid-10 seconds at 127 mph in his first outing when he went to the semifinals.
Once Luck saw Hudlow's potential, he started helping out. Luck has been with him ever since as part of the team.
Since Hudlow started racing, he has driven 15 different cars in 10 years. Each time he has made a change, it has been to a faster car.
After racing the Camaro, he purchased his first dragster in 1986 while still a senior in high school. He was one of the first to race a dragster in bracket racing and won 12 races.
In 1989, he raced an altered 1923 Model T Ford and won over $24,000 in prize money. In one race at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., he won $10,000. The altered car was a
fast one. It could race the quarter-mile in 8.20 seconds.
In 1990, Hudlow continued to run the altered car, winning 11 races and was runner-up four times. In 1992, he stayed close to home and won the track championship in Class I at 75-80.
Last year, he raced a rear-engine dragster for the first time for Mike Barrick of Baltimore. While racing for Barrick, Hudlow was having his own dragster built by Spitzer Race Cars in Indianapolis. At the end of October, he debuted the car at Capitol Raceway in Crofton, then headed to Moroso Motorsports Park in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., for a five-day national event and placed third.
The new dragster weighs only 1,690 pounds with driver. It is powered by a 775-horsepower alcohol-injected 468-cubic-inch big block Chevrolet. Hudlow's best elapsed time is 7.80 seconds or 175 mph in the quarter-mile.
"It's the best car I ever had," said Hudlow. "It is not only the fastest car I have had, but it is the best working one. It has the latest in technology. It is very consistent and that is the key to winning races."
Last Monday, Hudlow raced at Maryland International Raceway in Budds Creek against many of the big names in racing who had just competed in a national event in Englishtown, N.J.
He was runner-up in the "Quick-Eight" event to the Super Comp World Champion Edmond Richardson of Fort Worth, Texas. Hudlow lost by only four one-thousandths of a second. In the semifinal round, he defeated five-time Pro-Stock World Champion and professional driver David Ramsey of Indianapolis.
With the exception for 1992 when he ran for the track championship, Hudlow travels all over the East Coast to race.
In weekend racing at 75-80 Dragway, Mike Creaghan of Mount Airy won Class I. Marc Combs of New Windsor and Alan Palmer of Hampstead each went four rounds. Chuck Carroll of Woodbine and Joe Mayne of Mount Airy went three rounds. In Class II, drivers from Taneytown dominated the action. Charlie Spielman beat out Jamie Talbert to win the class. Tom Humm went five rounds and Mike Garber made it through four rounds. Ben Snouffer of Mount Airy also went four rounds. Marvin Ford of Westminster won the motorcycle class. Josh Wagner of Westminster placed third in the Jr. Dragster division.
In action last Sunday, David Doan of Westminster and Jamie Talbert of Taneytown each went five rounds in Street Racing Class.
In Top-Dog Runoff delayed because of rain, Jim Peddicord of Westminster and Snouffer were runner-ups.
In Super Comp Class at the New Jersey MOPAR Parts Nationals last week, Westminster's Todd Harris went four rounds and Lee Howe went three rounds.
At Trail-Way Speedway, Brad McClelland and Steve Owings of Westminster placed third and fourth, respectively, in the micro-sprint feature. Mike Stull of Westminster was sixth. Greg Messersmith of Hampstead won the thundercar feature. John McDonogh of Finksburg was fifth, Mark Shorb of Westminster was eighth and Corky Stull of Westminster finished ninth. Brad Green of Westminster placed third in the four-cylinder feature. Matt Barnes of Westminster was fourth and Jeff "Crash" Young was seventh.
At Winchester Speedway, Ernie Jones was fifth and his brother Rick was sixth in the late-model main event.
At Hagerstown Speedway, Gary Stuhler of Westminster was third in the late-model feature, Charlie Schaffer of Hampstead was ninth.
In super sprint car action, Cris Eash of Woodbine got back on the winning track with his third feature win at Selinsgrove Speedway. Eash finished fourth the night before at Williams Grove Speedway.
At Lincoln Speedway, Jesse Wentz of Manchester was sixth in the super sprint feature. In the semi-late feature, Westminster's Howard Williams and Randy Zechman were 1-2.