Michael Bowen has been busy the past two weeks preparing for the Motorsports Nationals next weekend at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa.
The three-day show will attract Ford Mustangs from a number of states, including Maryland, with several drivers from Carroll County.
This will be the first trip for the 27-year-old Woodbine resident to Maple Grove, and he can't wait.
He has been trying to get his car dialed-in the past month, but bad weather has cut down on the track time he's felt he needed to be ready.
Bowen is one of more than 15 Ford Mustang 5.0 owners who reside in Carroll County.
Because of the large number of Mustangs at 75-80 Dragway, track officials added a class just for the cars, a class that is between Class II and the Trophy division.
Like the rest of the Mustang owners, Bowen is always working on his car, looking for ways to improve its performance.
"I installed new gears, polished and ported the lower and upper intake manifold and installed a two-step," said Bowen. "I'm really a low-budget racer compared to some of the other guys.
"A lot of the guys have all the new stuff and faster cars than me, which means nothing in bracket racing, where it is consistency that wins. I have a different cam, cheap heads and intakes, but the car seems to run almost as good."
Since he purchased his 1987 Mustang two years ago, Bowen has dropped two seconds off his elapsed time.
Recently he went the quarter-mile at Cecil County Dragway in 12.93 seconds, reaching 106 mph.
The car is normally a little slower at 75-80 Dragway because the racing surface is slightly different.
Bowen is finding out a few changes can affect the consistency of his car.
He has been racing as much as possible to get the car ready for competition next weekend, but rain the past few weekends has forced him to race at other tracks.
"I'm not used to the changes I've made to the car," said Bowen. "It's like driving a new car."
Bowen started racing five years ago after completely rebuilding a 1976 Ford Mustang.
"The car had 200,000 miles on it when I brought it. So I completely rebuilt the motor and fixed up the rest of the car. It was the first one I ever did," said Bowen.
"After I finished, I wanted to try it out, so I went to the track. I really liked it, but I wasn't going every week like I am now, just whenever I could."
Two years ago, Bowen met Kenny Hill, a mechanic at Eldersburg Mobil. Once the two found out they both enjoyed drag racing, Bowen began to go to the track with him.
It wasn't long before he was going every week with the rest of the Mustang owners.
Time is running out for Bowen, but he expects to get his car fine-tuned this weekend for his first trip to the Motorsports Nationals.
Auto show and swap meet
If you're looking for something to do today, Auto-Motion Promotions is having its annual Father's Day June Jamboree Auto Show and Swap Meet at the Carroll County Ag Center. Gates open at 7 a.m.
Most of the action was rained out last weekend, but a few tracks were able to get their shows in.
At Williams Grove Speedway, Cris Eash of Woodbine won the super sprint feature.
His brother, Darren, took the lead at the start and Cris worked his way from the seventh starting spot.
Cris moved into second on the fourth lap and inherited the lead when Darren's left rear wheel flew off on Lap 7.
L Cris led the rest of the way for his first win at the track.
He finished ninth on Tuesday night in an All-Star event at Port Royal Speedway.
Steve Owings of Westminster won the micro-sprint feature at Trail-Way Speedway.
Mark Shorb of Westminster was sixth in the eight-cylinder feature, followed by Klair Stonesifer of Westminster. Gary Warehime of Hampstead was eighth.
In the four-cylinder feature, Steve Barnes of Westminster picked up the win, while his brother, Matt, finished fourth. Jeff Young of Westminster was seventh.
Steve Barnes has purchased a NASCAR Goody's Dash Car and plans to compete in his first race at Nashville speedway.
Jeff Davis of Westminster won Class I on Mopar Day at 75-80 Dragway.