MOUNT VERNON — The local drag racing season kicked into high gear on Saturday as drivers from near and far, along with many families, invaded Pacemakers Dragway Park.
After last week’s Test and Tune, this was the first week where points were awarded. Saturday was still, however, a day of testing new motors, new cars and new drivers.
Moose Danes of Cleveland brought his ’23 T-Altered with a mostly handmade frame and a new, more powerful alcohol-injected small block motor, built by his friend Frank Mazi, for some early-season testing.
“I was having trouble keeping it straight (on the track),” said Danes. “We got some new back tires on it.”
Springfield’s Scott Quisenberry, meanwhile, used Saturday as an opportunity to test drive the ’55 Chevy with a 526 Olds engine built by Sunbury’s Scott Eraskett. Quisenberry is just happy to be racing again — no matter what class of car he was driving.
“Even if I had to sell my big rig, I would do what I need to do to get in the driver’s seat,” said Quisenberry.
Pacemakers’ all-time winningest driver, Dick Rudrick, was back at the wheel of his familiar ’63 Dart and using a different type of gasoline. It was a tough day for the veteran driver, who was pretty plain spoken about his performance.
“Not too good,” said Rudrick, just before the buyback round. “I did my part, but I don’t know what happened.”
Mount Vernon’s Harry Stiltner, driving a ’79 Chevy Monte Carlo with a 355 engine, was Saturday’s runner-up in the Pro Class eliminations, losing in the final to Sean Bemiller of Columbus. Bemiller drove his ’69 Dodge Dart with a 400, at 100.82 in the eighth of a mile.
In the finals of the Super Pro, John Malaby, driving a ’96 Chevy Cavalier with a 383, had his hands full against Newark’s Billy Strobe in his 496 Dragster. Despite the fact that Strobe hit a perfect .5000 reaction time at the start, Malaby edged him to take first place.
Terry McGee of Newark and his ’69 Satellite with a 440 motor had a .5099 reaction time to defeat Nick Hastings of Shelby in a close Sportsman’s final. Hastings lost the final round in his ’84 Mustang with a 302 motor.
Notes: Pacemakers will have Friday’s Test and Tune from 5 to 10 p.m. Gates will open at 4 p.m. On Saturday, Pacemakers will hold the inaugural Good ‘Ole Days ’72 and Older Car Show. Also, there will be a swap meet sponsored by the Road Devils Car Club. Gates open at noon. For more information call 397-2720.