Brad Green of Westminster is excited about starting his first full year in the eight-cylinder thundercar division at the Lincoln Speedway. The 21-year-old is one of many promising young drivers from Carroll County who will be competing weekly on the local oval tracks.
Green started racing in 1992 in the four-cylinder division at Potomac Speedway in southern Maryland and the Trail-Way Speedway in Hanover.
He was Rookie of the Year at Trail-Way Speedway in his first year and won nine features at Potomac Speedway his second year. Last year he won three races, including the season-ending fall invitational at Trail-Way Speedway.
By then, Green was beginning to think about making the move up to another class. Midway through last season, he was offered a ride in the faster eight-cylinder class in a car sponsored by Mid-Town Service Center and B&D; Truck Hoist of Westminster.
Although he hadn't planned to make the switch until the end of the season, Green thought he was ready to make the move. He quickly adapted to the faster car, although it was quite a change.
"He's looked real good," said his father, Dave Green, a former driver in the thundercar class. "He knows it's a big difference. It's going to take some time."
Any change in racing takes time to adjust. But Green didn't seem to have as much trouble as expected.
"It's a pretty big difference," said Brad about his Chevrolet Chevelle. "The main difference is getting into the corners with four more cylinders and 1,000 more pounds. Driving is more critical now. You have to be more smooth. If you mess up, there are three to four cars that will pass you. Before, maybe one would get by."
Green caught on quickly. By the end of last year, with only a few races under his belt, he won the consolation race to qualify for a season-ending invitational event at Potomac Speedway for cars
in his class. Although it had mechanical problems in the race, the team was pleased to make the race where only a quarter of the 70-plus cars qualified.
The thundercar division is an inexpensive class with rules that keep the cars as close to stock as possible. It is a good place for drivers to gain experience before moving on to a much faster class like the unlimited late-model cars. The V-8 engines are limited to 355 cubic inches. Headers and a four-barrel carburetor are allowed.
Green isn't new to racing. His father has been in the sport for several years, helping Al Shawver win late-model track championships at Lincoln and Winchester speedways. Then Green helped his father when he raced in the thundercar class at Lincoln.
The father and son team is building a Chevrolet Camaro, but Dave would not say whether the car would be a back-up or a team car.
"I'd rather be racing, I miss it," said the father when asked if he might drive again with the extra car. "But I enjoy helping Brad, too. It's his turn now. We'll see."
In racing last weekend, Gary Stuhler of Westminster opened Winchester Speedway with a win in the late models. It was the third consecutive year that Stuhler has won its opener. Stuhler started on the outside of the second row and took the lead on the fourth lap and led the rest of the way.
In the late-model feature at Hagerstown Speedway, Charlie Schaffer of Hampstead finished third and Stuhler was sixth.
Cris Eash of Woodbine finished second in the sprint car feature at Lincoln Speedway. Jesse Wentz of Manchester was fifth. Randy Zechman of Westminster was second in the semi-late feature, Gregg Messersmith of Hampstead was fourth in the thundercar feature followed by Klair Stonecipher of Westminster seventh.
At Trail-Way Speedway, Jeff Young of Westminster was fourth in the four-cylinder feature. Matt Barnes of Westminster was seventh and Craig Mann of Westminster was ninth. In the eight-cylinder feature, John McDonogh of Finksburg was sixth and Ron Spencer of Westminster was ninth. Randy Enos of Manchester was ninth in the street stock feature.
Jeff Shepard went on the road last weekend with the Club All-Stars to Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, Ga. Shepard had the fourth-fastest time on Friday night and 16th on Saturday. Despite the success he has had in qualifying, mechanical woes have kept him out of the top 10 in the feature events.
In drag racing, Jamie Talbert of Taneytown won the Pro-Driver class at the Mason-Dixon Dragway. Tom Eaton of Monrovia was second in the motorcycle division.
At 75-80 Dragway, Jeff Meleo of Keymar was runner-up in Class II and Roger Jorss of Westminster was semifinalist. In Mustang 5.0 class, Bill Fifrick of Westminster defeated Brian Koons of Westminster. Marvin Ford of Westminster won the motorcycle division and Joey Smith of Mount Airy was the winner in the Jr. Dragsters. At Capitol Raceway, Jim Peddicord of Westminster went five rounds in Class I and his son Cliff went four rounds in Class II.