Steve Dustin feels good about the 1994 racing season so far. After finishing in the runner-up spot in the double-point Top Dog meet last weekend, he stands second in points in Class II competition at 75-80 Dragway in Monrovia.
Dustin, 24, is a newcomer to Carroll County. It was through drag racing that he met Jim Peddicord of Westminster. The two became close friends helping one another on their cars.
Peddicord has a younger sister, Lisa, who also races. Peddicord introduced her to Dustin and now the two plan to marry April 29.
Dustin and his fiance share every weekend racing at 75-80. They meet after work on Fridays at the dragway and drive to the track on Saturdays together. Lisa drives a Ford Thunderbird in the Trophy Class.
Dustin drives a white 1968 Ford Mustang that he and his father, Steve Sr., purchased in 1985. The car was in bad shape and had to be towed home. The two restored the car and finished it in time for Dustin's 16th birthday. Once he had his license, Dustin raced the car a couple times a year, but was never serious about racing.
Then in 1990, the Mustang was broadsided in a traffic accident. Dustin escaped injury, but the car was totaled with the frame twisted.
Rather than junk the car, Dustin and his father decided to restore the car again. During the two years they worked on the car, Dustin began to attend the drag races with his father and younger brother, John, who races a 1969 Mustang. By the time the car was completed two years later, Dustin was hooked on racing.
Since the car was rebuilt, Dustin has been a regular at 75-80. In three years, he has matured into one of the top drivers in Class II (for cars with elapsed time of 11 seconds and slower).
Last year, he made the team that represented 75-80 in the Northeast bracket finals at Maple Grove Dragway, making it through the first round. Now, he is battling for the points lead midway through the season.
Dustin's Mustang is a street-legal car. He enjoys driving the valuable muscle car leisurely to the track with his fiance. Once he arrives, he changes the rear tires to racing slicks for better traction and consistency, then switches back to street tires at the end of the night for the drive home.
"I am getting more used to the car," said Dustin, who is a mechanic by trade. "I have more experience and I am learning how to dial the car in better. I am also learning how to play the finish line."
The Mustang is powered by a 302-cubic-inch Ford motor. Rebuilt after the accident, the motor has been modified for extra power by the addition of 351 Windsor heads, solid cam and a Holley 750 carburetor.
The car's elapsed time for the quarter-mile is 12.60 seconds, reaching 107 mph. It is one of the fastest street-legal cars at 75-80.
In addition to his runner-up finish last week, Dustin has won one race this season.
He is confident about the rest of the year. He said he believes he can win at least one more race than the four he won last year. He also expects to make the 75-80 team again.
At 75-80 Dragway last Friday, Mike Creaghan of Mount Airy and Rodney Kuhns of Hampstead split first-place money in Class I competition. Peddicord and J. R. Gonyea of Mount Airy both went three rounds. In Class II, Corey Hess of Taneytown and Roger Jorss of Sykesville split first place on Friday before thunderstorms canceled the final round. Last Saturday, Hess won the final. Scott Lowman of Woodbine went three rounds.
Last Saturday, Lowman won Class II and was runner-up in the Top Dog race. Dustin was runner-up, Mike Stambaugh of Union Bridge went to the semifinals and Larry Hoff of Westminster, Hess, Steve Hoff of Sykesville and Ben Snouffer of Westminster went to the fourth round. In Class I, Joe Mayne of Mount Airy made it to the semifinals and Ray Lewis of Woodbine went four rounds. In the motorcycles, Malcolm Ford of Westminster was runner-up to Dave Belt, a former Carroll County rider who now resides in Littlestown, Pa.
It was Gary Stuhler of Westminster winning again in the late-model feature at Hagerstown Speedway. The win was Stuhler's third win in as many races.
At Winchester (Va.) Speedway, Rick Jones of Westminster placed second in their late-model feature and his brother, Ernie, placed sixth. Brad McClelland placed second in a micro-sprint feature, losing by inches to Diane Tobias of Lebanon, Pa.
At Lincoln (Pa.) Speedway, Jesse Wentz of Manchester was seventh in the super-sprint feature. Cris Eash of Woodbine finished second in the super-sprint feature at Selinsgrove (Pa.) Speedway and was eighth at Williams Grove (Pa.) Speedway.
Finksburg's Jeff Shepard recently took over for Stevie Smith on the World of Outlaws circuit. Shepard finished 10th and 12th in the third annual Valvoline Classic in Knoxville, Iowa. He placed 20th at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Ill.