Ray Whittington of New Windsor was one of the first to start racing his Ford Mustang at 75-80 Dragway. At first, the cars raced in the trophy class, but as more and more Mustang owners began racing, a separate class was started this year.
Now, more than 40 Mustang owners are registered at the track.
Whittington likes to compete. He likes to race and, most of all, he likes to make his car the fastest Mustang around.
Although the Mustang owners have come together to form a close-knit group, they enjoy competing against each other. When they aren't on the track trying to beat the other, they are parked beside one another always ready to lend a hand.
"We all try new and different things out," said Whittington, 22. "If it works, the other guys may try it, if it doesn't, we try something else."
Whittington probably has made more changes to the power plant of his Mustang then the others. He recently installed a new 302-cubic-inch motor that he had rebuilt. The engine has been strengthened, mostly in the bottom end with pistons, cranks and rods. But it is difficult to get away with just strengthening the front of the power train and not the rest. Whittington also had to install larger axles after the torque of the increased horsepower started breaking axles.
Whittington raced go-karts when he was young, but never paid much attention to drag racing. That was until he met Chuck Taylor of Westminster, a well-known drag racer. Taylor took Whittington to the track a few times where he met a couple of his friends who were racing.
In October 1991, Whittington raced in his first race at a Ford meet. He has been going ever since.
Although Whittington's 1991 Mustang is street legal, he tows it to the track rather than driving it. He has installed a roll cage so he can run the car in Class I when he feels he is ready. Now the car is capable of elapsed times under 12 seconds for a quarter-mile.
A body shop foreman at Bohn Pontiac in Westminster, Whittington is looking forward to the Ford Mustang 5.0 shootout at Englishtown, N.J., next weekend. Earlier this year in a national event at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., Whittington finished 16th out of 47 entries.
Whittington already has planned what changes he is going to make this winter. He will rebuild another set of heads and install a super charger with nitro oxide. Nitro is used by many racers for an additional boost. Whittington plans on trying the nitro in the top end of the motor for added horsepower when he needs it.
"I really like racing," said Whittington. "It's a hobby, an expensive one. It's something I am glad I got into. But I've got to see how fast I can go truthfully."
Over the Labor Day holiday Cris Eash of Woodbine had a good weekend in super sprint racing. Last Sunday night at Susquehanna Speedway in Newberrytown, Pa., Eash jumped from the third starting spot to the early lead and had no trouble the rest of the way. Eash got a jump on the weekend with a third-place finish at Selinsgrove Speedway in a Wednesday night show. On Friday night Eash had a sixth-place finish at Williams Grove Speedway and followed that with an eighth-place finish at Lincoln Speedway on Saturday night. On Labor Day, Eash finished sixth in the Jack Gunn Memorial at Selinsgrove Speedway.
Jesse Wentz of Manchester finished ninth at Williams Grove and seventh at Lincoln. Jeff Shepard of Upperco finished second in the Club All-Star sprint feature at Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio, last Saturday night. Shepard won the B-Main at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa. Judd Shepard of Finksburg finished 11th at Port Royal Speedway in the limited sprint feature.
In late-model action, Charlie Schaffer of Hampstead captured his first feature win of the year at Winchester Speedway. The former track champion grabbed second early in the race and with two laps remaining, made the winning pass coming out of the second turn. Rick Jones of Westminster was sixth. At Hagerstown Speedway, Gary Stuhler of Westminster was third in the late-model feature and Mike Walls of Taneytown was third in the four-cylinder feature.
In micro-sprint action Brad McClelland of Westminster had two second-place finishes at Challenger Speedway in Indiana, Pa. Steve Owings of Westminster was fourth in the second main event. At Trail-Way Speedway, Owings was second, David Parris of Westminster was sixth and McClelland was 10th.
Matt Barnes of Westminster has turned out to be the hottest driver the past month. Barnes captured his third straight four-cylinder feature at Trail-Way Speedway with his brother, Steve, in second. Mike Walls of Taneytown was third, Craig Mann of Westminster was sixth. In the eight-cylinder feature, Mark Shorb of Westminster was fifth, John McDonogh of Finksburg was sixth, Gary Warehime of Hampstead was seventh and Butch Harvey of Westminster was eighth. Jason Smith of Westminster was third in the street stock feature and Steve Pollard of Westminster was eighth.
At Lincoln, Westminster's Don Zechman and Howard Williams finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the semi-late feature. Brad Green of Westminster took his first career checkered flag in the thundercar feature. Green led all but the first lap.
In drag racing at 75-80, Nathan Etzler of Mount Airy was a semifinalist in Class I and Chuck Taylor of Westminster was a quarterfinalist. In Class II, Erv Hare of Mount Airy was runner-up, Ben Snouffer of Mount Airy and Jeff Meleo of Keymar were semifinalists. Marion Ford of Hampstead was runner-up in the motorcycle division. Cliff Peddicord of Westminster won Class I. Charlie Spielman of Taneytown won Class II over Steve Hoff of Sykesville. Snouffer was a semifinalist. Gene Belt of Taneytown was runner-up in the motorcycle division.
L At Mason-Dixon Dragway, Joe Mayne of Mount Airy won Class I.
On Saturday, the Car, Truck & Street Rod show will be at the Carroll County Career & Technology Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call Sharon German at (410) 876-3842 for more details.