The Monrovia Raceway, located adjacent to the 75-80 Dragway in Monrovia, will open its 1995 racing season today. Among the more than 100 participants will be Robby Stovinski of Sykesville and his family.
The 10-year-old will be starting his second season in kart racing and can't wait to get started.
Like so many families, the Stovinskis' only experience with karts were at the amusement go-kart tracks in Ocean City. They never thought about racing karts competitively until they went to watch Robby's cousin, Rosemary, of Gaithersburg race at Monrovia two years ago.
The first thing they noticed was how different the racing was from what they were accustomed to.
Everything was well-organized with club officials looking out for the youngsters. Drivers were divided into divisions according to their age and weight. Safety was of the upmost importance.
The Stovinskis liked what they saw and continued to attend the events. It wasn't long before Robby was taking some laps on the track in his cousin's kart after the racing events were completed.
When the season was over, Robby and his father, Robert, were hooked. They purchased the kart from his cousin and was ready to go racing. What they didn't know was that there was more to racing than met the eye.
"It was a real learning experience for Robby and me," said Robert. "Last year was one of trial and error. All I thought I had to do was to put gas in the motor and go racing. I just thought it was a lawn mower motor. Boy, was I wrong.
"I had no idea what it was like. I didn't know anything about gear ratios and tire stagger. I had to learn a lot. It was completely different than what I expected."
But the early set-backs didn't deter the two. Each week, father and son continued to improve. Robby worked on getting as much track time as possible. He was at the track every Thursday for practice, working on his driving skills with older and more experienced drivers, following them around the track finding the fastest route.
With help from other kart owners, Robert's brother and Art and Stephanie Davies, they made progress.
Every weekend they raced, it was a family outing. Robby's mother, Jayne, and his two sisters, Lisa and Monica, were always there to cheer him on.
When their first season was over, Rob by, a fifth-grader at Woodfield Elementary, had finished sixth in points in the novice division.
This year Robby will be moving up to the junior sportsman class with a minimum weight of 235 pounds. The kart is powered by a five-horsepower Briggs & Stratton motor.
The motor may look like your every-day lawn mower motor, but that's where the similarity ends. Robby will have two motors to start the year, including a blueprint motor custom built. The four-cycle engine runs on methanol instead of gas and has a restriction plate to keep the speed down.
Robby plans on racing the Maryland circuit that will include six races, two each at three Maryland tracks, Chestertown on the Eastern Shore, Sandy Hook in Bel Air, and Monrovia.
Now with Robby ready for his second year, don't be surprised if his father doesn't start racing within a year or two.
"If I had the money I would race," said Robert. "I told Robby as soon as I get the extra coin I am trying it."
In racing last weekend, Cris Eash of Woodbine finished third at Williams Grove Speedway in the super-sprint feature. Eash had not been able to finish the feature in his two previous outings at Lincoln Speedway. Jesse Wentz finished 12th at Lincoln Speedway in their super-sprint feature and Greg Messersmith of Hampstead was 11th in the thundercar main event.