David Wisner of Millers and Steve Rill of Westminster make up one of the more interesting teams in stock car racing. They started racing at the end of the 1994 season in the street stock class at Trail-Way Speedway.
They share everything from the driving to the expenses.
Wisner and Rill always have enjoyed watching races at local speedways. They also attend the Winston Cup races at Dover Downs International Speedway every year. They often thought about what it would be like to get behind the wheel.
"I was always interested in racing," said Wisner. "I wanted to get into it and see what it would be like to race a car. Steve Rill and his brothers, Mark and Brian, were also interested in putting a car together and trying it out to see what we could do with it."
But the group of Westminster residents needed a car. That came easily when they were given a 1977 Mercury by Wisner's cousin. They took the car right off the street and decided that they would race in the entry-level class. Wisner and Rill did not have any racing experience, but that didn't stop them.
"We got a lot of help from our relatives," said Wisner. "We $H installed a roll cage in the car and Jim Jennings did most of the welding."
They were able to finish the car near the end of the 1994 season. Wisner has no trouble remembering the first night out.
"Our first trip was pretty interesting," said Wisner. "We were late arriving at the track, and I was late getting out for warm-ups. They weren't going to let me out, but eventually they did let me out for one lap. I floored it and the car went everywhere. I learned a lot right off the bat.
"We raced the last three races. We were in over our heads, but everyone has to start somewhere. We picked up a lot of things, though, little things that have made a lot of difference for us."
The team regrouped over the winter and made some changes to the car. When the 1995 season started, Wisner, 26, and his teammate were ready. Because their racing was truly a team effort, Wisner and Rill took turns behind the wheel.
Actually, Wisner's job determined who would drive the car from week to week more than anything. A graduate in sports management from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., Wisner began working for the Frederick Keys baseball team two years ago as director of stadium operations.
When the team was in town, Wisner's job required him at Grove Stadium, so Rill drove the car. When the team was on the road, Wisner was able to drive.
The team, regardless of who was driving, improved each week. And they were having fun.
"We picked up a lot of things during the year, little things that made a lot of difference," said Wisner. "It's still a learning process. It will always be that way. You learn a little bit week to week. Bob Jones [tech man from Westminster] helped us a lot when we had front-end problems. At least we were being competitive. No one was getting away from anyone, nor were we going to get away from them."
While the current season just ended, Wisner and Rill are looking forward to next year. They are searching for another car, but if they don't find what they are looking for, they will continue to race their current one.
"We're hoping to get better and try to be more competitive next year," said Wisner. "Trail-Way is really a neat place, a good place where we met a lot of nice people. We have enjoyed it.
"We try to be competitive, but if we don't win, it's not as if it is life or death. We know that for some of the people winning is the only thing that counts."
The Wisner-Rill racing team will be back at Trail-Way when the 1996 season begins in March.
Last weekend at 75-80 Dragway, Vickie Fenner of Sykesville was runner-up in the powder-puff race and in the Shot Gun Class. Rich Fenner of Sykesville was runner-up in the E.F.I. class. Archie Davis of Woodbine was runner-up in the slick-tire class. Jon Little of Littlestown, Pa., won Class I, Steve Dustin of Westminster was runner-up in Class II and Joseph Gentell of Mount Airy went four rounds.
In the motorcycle division, Scott Chasen of Taneytown split first-place money with Kermitt Garnett. At Mason-Dixon Dragway, Joe Mayne of Mount Airy was runner-up in the eighth-mile hi-roller race.
On the oval track, Gary Stuhler of Westminster was fifth in the Hub City National 150 late model feature at the Hagerstown Speedway. Charlie Schaffer of Hampstead came back from a flat tire early in the race to place sixth. After setting fast time at the Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, Ga., Jeff Shepard of Upperco was seventh in the 30-lap A Main Dixie Nationals Club All-Star sprint race.
In quarter-midget action at Hagerstown, Luke Dempsey of Westminster won the Jr. Stock #2 feature, Stacy Myers of Westminster was third in the Jr. Stock #1. Chad Myers won the modified division.