Morris is still dragging after all these years

Norman Morris of New Windsor has been racing for 20 years. He races national and regional events throughout the Northeast on the International Hot Rod Association circuit.

When he isn't competing at an IHRA event, he races close to home at 75-80 Dragway in Monrovia.


His car, a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, is easy to find at the track. The bright red and yellow color combination, painted by Dale Grimm of Grimm Automotive in Frederick, is eye-catching and blends with its owner's red hair.

The colors aren't the only thing that catches your attention. Half of the Chevrolet big-block, 468-cubic-inch motor sits above the hood, and if the traction is right, the power will lift the front wheels five feet in the air on the start.


The 2,600-pound car normally crosses the finish line at the end of the quarter-mile at 150 mph.

Morris started drag racing on the street, as did many older veteran drivers.

"I raced on the street like everybody else," said Morris. "We all wanted to see how fast our car would go. My car kept getting faster and faster, and I realized that it was too dangerous to race on the street. So I decided it was best to go to the track before someone got hurt."

Morris has restored old cars and once had a 1931 Ford Coupe that was a trophy winner. He realized that he couldn't race and go to cars shows at the same time and decided to concentrate on racing.

Traveling to national events from New England to Florida not only requires time, but a good pit crew. Morris is especially proud of his crew, which is his sons, Christopher and Rusty, and his wife, Elizabeth.

His sons have become hooked on racing, and their father looks forward to when all three are racing together. Christopher, 22, won the high school division at 75-80 three years ago and went to the third round at the bracket finals at Maple Grove three years ago. He has continued competing in a new 1994 Chevrolet Z-28 Camaro. Rusty, 19, also hopes to race.

"Chris would like to race a dragster," said Morris. "I have three or four alcohol motors sitting around, maybe we'll get one for him soon."

Morris' best year was two years ago, when he reached the semifinals three times in three national events, including one at Maryland International Raceway in Budds Creek. He hasn't won a big one, but racing against the top drivers on the East Coast isn't easy.


Morris has had his Camaro for six years. It is equipped with all the latest equipment. He switched its fuel from gasoline to alcohol a few years ago and has been pleased with the difference in performance.

"I am glad I switched from CAM2 racing fuel to alcohol," said Morris, 46. "The car runs faster, is more consistent and it allows the motor to cool down faster. It is also cheaper. Alcohol is $1.45 per gallon compared to $3.80 for gas. The car is quicker and more responsive with alcohol."

Weekend results

In late-model racing action last weekend, Gary Stuhler of Westminster had a perfect weekend. Last Saturday night at Hagerstown Speedway, Stuhler came from the 12th starting spot in the 24-car field to take the lead on lap 13 and ran unchallenged the rest of the way to win the 25-lap feature. On Sunday night, Stuhler traveled to Winchester (Va.) Speedway and led all 40 laps to win the Hardee's Virginia State Championship. Stuhler has raced at Winchester three times this season and has won every time.

Charlie Schaffer of Hampstead finished fifth, his best finish at Hagerstown Speedway, last Saturday and placed 10th at Winchester on Sunday night.

Last Saturday night in the 25-lap late model feature at Winchester, Ernie Jones of Westminster was sixth and his brother Rick placed eighth.


In Super Sprint car action, Cris Eash of Woodbine finished seventh and eighth at Williams Grove (Pa.) Speedway in the Twin-20 lap features. Last Saturday night, Eash took the lead on lap 10 after starting 12th to register his sixth win at Selinsgrove (Pa.) Speedway.

At Lincoln (Pa.) Speedway, Jesse Wentz of Manchester was eighth in the 25-lap main event. In other action at Lincoln, Kenny Mirfin of Union Bridge placed ninth in the thundercar feature, Howard Williams and Randy Zechman of Westminster placed sixth and seventh, respectively, in the semi-late feature. John Moser of Westminster was ninth.

At Potomac Speedway, Mike Walls of Westminster was ninth in the four-cylinder feature.

At Trail-Way (Pa.) Speedway, Brad McClelland and Steve Owings of Westminster placed third and fourth, respectively, in the micro-sprint feature. David Parris of Westminster was eighth. Greg Messersmith of Hampstead was third in the thundercar feature and John McDonogh of Finksburg was sixth. Brad Green of Westminster was third in the four-cylinder main event and Jeff Young of Westminster was sixth.

Local micro-sprint drivers did well in their trips to other speedways. McClelland traveled to Shirleysburg, Pa., to Hill Valley Speedway and took the lead on the final lap to win the micro-sprint feature. Owings visited Greenwood Valley Speedway in Orangeville, Pa., and came from the 16th starting spot to take the lead on the 11th lap and led the rest of the way for an impressive win. It was Owings' second win.