MOUNT VERNON — Drag Racing roared into high gear in Knox County on Saturday as Pacemakers Dragway Park started a full racing schedule for 2010.
It was a glorious Saturday that greeted drivers as they lined up for eliminations.
“I’ve been to eight tracks this year already,” said longtime track stalwart Harlan Updike between races. “Today just turned out to be beautiful.”
Andy Lear, who just sold his 1927 Ford Roadster, powered by the Chevy 406 small block to Jeff Keyser of Pataskala, was about to make a demo drive of the car.
Lear already watched Keyser make a run with the same car.
“It’s good to see it going down the track. I love watching the old car go down there,” said Lear of the yellow roadster, which was built in 1980 and consists of two chassis and a roadster body. “I drove it quite a bit and, then I sold it to Jeff. Now he wants to see it go down the track one time.”
While Keyser has a new toy, Larry Wolford of Howard, who drives a bright orange Camaro with a Chevy 555, is still looking to sell his. It’s available minus the motor for $30,000.
The sudden jump into summer has sent Wolford and the other drivers scrambling to find the optimum settings on their cars.
“The humidity is up and we have to correct for that,” said Wolford. “Everything is running slower. You have to adjust for it. It’s built for Super Gas racing, but we can run it in Super Street, so that’s what we’re running it in this weekend. It’s a little fast for Super Street so we run Super Gas, which is a 9.90 index instead of a 10.90.”
As long as Wolford owns such a beautiful car, he might as well take it out and show it off. So far, he’s already been to Norwalk this year. Unfortunately, in tough times, there are few buyers, so the car is his for now.
“I’ve had a few calls for it,” said Wolford, whose two-year-old Camaro has a Ricky Adkins chassis. “I’ve had it on the Internet. A guy out of Canada was looking at it. It’s tough to get anybody to buy a race car right now.”
Linn Bebout of Gambier whose Oldsmobile Cutlass has a 442 big block Chevy motor in it, was pleased with the number of drivers, who showed up for the first official day of racing.
“It was a real good day,” said Bebout. “I’m glad they had such a good turnout.”
Bebout plans on hitting six or eight tracks himself in 2010.
“We’ve been to Indianapolis already, as well as Norwalk. We’ll pretty much race at Pacemakers and National Trails,” he said.
At least for Saturday, there seemed to be little sign of the high fuel prices and tough economic times that has plagued the sport of racing for the past couple of years.
“I think the economy is coming around,” said Bebout. “People want to get out and enjoy themselves. Hopefully, money is freeing up a little bit. It seems to be in our business.”