Race car show aimed at fighting drugs


Four years ago, the Reichards helped formed a security group to kick drugs out of their Odenton neighborhood.

Today, they say, the drugs are out of Chapelgate, off Waugh Chapel Road and they want to get rid of drugs in the rest of the county.

Tomorrow, the Reichards are putting on a dirt track race car show at the Odenton Shopping Center on Route 175. They hope the 30-car show will hook young people on fast cars, not drugs.

"If we can get people involved in racing, it'll take up their time, and then they don't have time for drugs," said Raymond Reichard, who is organizing the show with his wife, Kathleen, an avid race car fan.

The "Choose Hobbies, Not Habits" show, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., is free and is being sponsored by the Auto Doctor, the couple's Crofton repair shop. The Fraternal Order of Police No. 70, a union for Anne Arundel County's police officers, has donated five plaques that will be given to the best cars in the show.

"Race cars display D.A.R.E. and 'Say No To Drugs,' so we decided to help," said Lisa Winters, secretary of the Fraternal Order of Police. "I think all kids are interested in cars. A lot of times you see kids at the track."

Since Dorsey Speedway closed about a decade ago, a !c generation of Anne Arundel County residents has grown up without knowing the tradition of Friday nights at the dirt track races, the Reichards say.

The tradition lives on at Potomac Speedway in Budds Creek, St. Mary's County, to which the Reichards make a 90-minute drive every Friday from March through October.

The Reichards race a black and white Camaro. It has no windows, and its body is made of aluminum sheet metal. Their Camaro is a late model class, the highest of the five dirt track race car categories. The next category is semi-late model. Cars in both classes are built from basic parts.

The Camaro doesn't look like a standard car because the idea is to make the cars as light as possible. The aluminum body keeps the car's weight down to about 2,330 pounds with driver. The standard Camaro weighs about 3,500 pounds.

The lower class cars -- enduro, four-cylinder and pure street -- are souped-up standard cars such as Pintos, Mustangs or Malibus.

All of the cars race at Potomac Speedway's 3/8 -mile, packed-clay oval track. A separate race is held for each class. Races begin at 7:30 p.m. and end at 11 p.m., with about 20 cars competing in each category, said Potomac Speedway promoter Peter Cameron.

Most teams end the night with some cash prize. Winnings for the typical 25-lap race range from $10 to $800. In a racing season, $280,000 is given away at Potomac Speedway, Mr. Cameron said.

The Reichards have invested about $18,000 in their Camaro. Like other car owners, they have gotten sponsors in exchange for advertising space on the car.

Plastered on the side of the Reichards' Camaro are colorful decals from Vernon E. Ford Jr. Masonry and Excavating in Edgewater and Tri-State Communications Inc. in Davidsonville.

Asked whether the cost of dirt track racing would deter young people from getting involved, the Reichards' driver, Timmy Booth, said money is not a problem.

"I was making $4 an hour when I built my first car," Mr. Booth said. "It depends on how much you want to get involved."

The rain date for the show is June 17. For more information, call the Auto Doctor at (301) 627-0303.

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