Speed and more speed on tap at MDIR

Race­track hosts Su­per Chevy and Jet Wars

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By MICHAEL REID mreid@somd­news.com

For those look­ing for a lit­tle com­pe­ti­tion and a lit­tle show­cas­ing and a whole lot of speed, Mary­land In­ter­na­tional Race­way will be the place as the Su­per Chevy Show & Jet Wars re­turn to South­ern Mary­land on Satur­day.

The event will fea­ture Chevy Power rac­ing action, Jet Wars, a car show, ven­dor mid­way and swap meet.

The Chevy Power race will fea­ture more than 100 mod­i­fied Chevro­lets. Time tri­als will be­gin at 11 a.m. and elim­i­na­tions will be­gin around 4 p.m. Gates open at 9 a.m.

“If you’re a Chevy guy, if you’re a guy who likes old nos­tal­gic cars, if you’re some­body who just likes rac­ing in gen­eral you’d be in­ter­ested in this event,” said John Quinn of Me­chan­icsville, who will race his or­ange 1955 Chevy with a 427 Dart en­gine.

Quinn raced from 1964-1966 and the lat­ter year even com­peted at newly-opened Budds Creek Race­way (then named St. Mary’s Dra­g­away).

He took up rac­ing again in 2008 when af­ter re­tir­ing from the Prince Ge­orge’s po­lice depart­ment he headed to the track to catch a race and “that’s all it took. I got the bug again,” he said.

With the help of Jeff Au­man, the owner of Au­mon Au­tom­tive in Me­chan­icsville, the pair trans­formed the Chevy — which Quinn pur­chased in 2004 and re­stored — into a hot rod.

“The main thing you feel at the start is your car launches it­self so hard that it throws you back into the seat and you kind of have to hang on to the steer­ing wheel,” said Quinn, whose top speed is 113 miles per hour. His best quar­ter-mile time is 12.03 sec­onds. “Af­ter that, you’re just go­ing faster and faster un­til you cross the line.”

If more speed is your pas­sion, the Jet Wars will sat­isfy your need. The event will fea­ture at least four drag­sters ca­pa­ble of reach­ing 300 miles per hour.

Al Hanna owns Hanna Mo­tor­sports, which in­cludes the Queen of Di­a­monds II drag­ster (driven by Sarah Ed­wards), GoJo Fire­bird Jet Funny Car (Rich Hanna) and the Top Se­cret jet funny

car (Ken Hall). Al Hanna, who said the com­pany is the “num­ber one team of this type in the world,” runs events all over the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Brazil. Hanna said talks are cur­rently un­der­way with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from New Zealand, France and the United King­dom. “We’re busy,” he said. The Gojo Fire­bird, a Pon­tiac-based jet funny car 6000-horse­power jet en­gine, which, ac­cord­ing to www.draglist.com, “is the cur­rent world speed and ET record holder in the Jet Funny Car cat­e­gory, hav­ing run a best time of 5.42 at 296 miles per hour.

Other sim­i­lar cars in this class can reach speeds of about 270 to 280 miles per hour.

The Queen of Di­a­monds II is pi­loted by Sarah Ed­wards, a 24-year-old ad­min­is­tra­tor and in­te­rior dec­o­rat­ing spe­cial­ist.

“When I’m wait­ing to light my burner and wait­ing to take off there’s re­ally not too much go­ing through my mind other than just wait­ing for the first glimpse of am­ber [which sig­ni­fies the start on the christ­mas tree],” Ed­wards said. “The first glimpse is what will re­ally help you catch a good re­ac­tion time. Af­ter I take the launch and go it’s just more fo­cus­ing and my aware­ness of where I am on the track and how quick the fin­ish line is com­ing up.”

Ed­wards will ex­pe­ri­ence 3 or 4 G-Forces while rac­ing be­fore de­ploy­ing her dou­ble para­chutes, which she said is her fa­vorite part of the race.

“When they come out it’s a neg­a­tive 6 G-Force from go­ing al­most 300 to about 5-20 miles an hour,” she said of the ap­prox­i­mately eight sec­onds it will take her to stop. “I feel [the stop­ping process] through­out my whole body.”

One day about 12 years ago, her par­ents took her to see a race and she was in­stantly “en­thralled and from that mo­ment on she’s wanted to drive that car,” Hanna said.

“It’s very sur­real that the first time I went to the track the car I saw lit the fire for want­ing to do this,” she said in a tele­phone in­ter­view. “I think it was the fact that with the name [of the car] there would be a fe­male in there and af­ter see­ing the car go 300 miles an hour and meet­ing the driver I found out she was a nice, young, bub­bly fe­male. That meant that I could do that one day [and now] fast forward a decade later and here I am driv­ing it.”

When the driver re­signed, Ed­wards was brought in for an in­ter­view and was, Hanna said, “hired on the spot.”

“Th­ese are re­ally com­plex ma­chines so she had to learn the process, but ev­ery­thing we in­structed her on she was do­ing it,” Hanna said. “One train­ing ses­sion I got a slip say­ing she went over 300 miles an hour [for the first time] so I said, ‘Wow, that’s your first 300 mile an hour run’ and her com­ment was, ‘Are we run­ning any­more to­day?’ She’ll take pic­tures or talk with any­body, but in the car she’s like a ma­chine. She does re­ally great. She’s very im­pres­sive.”

The Jet Cars are sched­uled to race at 6 and 9 p.m.

If driv­ing is a lit­tle too in­tense, the East Coast Pro Street Club will hold a car show.

“With the cars we have in this area and the re­sponse we’ve been get­ting back I’d say we’ll have 350-400 cars, on the low end,” said Rick Gen­try, the pres­i­dent of the club, which has chap­ters in 10 states and Canada. “Maybe more than that.

The car show will fea­ture Chevro­lets from the 1940s all the way up to cur­rent day Ca­maros and Corvettes. Gen­try him­self has a com­pletely re­stored 1968 or­ange Ca­maro pro street with a small block and 671 blower.

“You’re not go­ing to find another on the planet that looks like that,” said the Charlotte Hall res­i­dent, who re­tired in 2014 from Volk­swa­gen of Amer­ica. “It’s one of those things when you’re a kid and the old guys had them and you couldn’t af­ford them be­cause you’re rais­ing a fam­ily and it’s some­thing I al­ways wanted. It kind of looks like the Hot Wheels we had as kids with the big en­gines and the big tires on them. That just drew me to it.”

PHOTO BY HANNA MO­TOR­SPORTS

The Queen of Di­a­monds II, which can at­tain speeds of up to 300 miles per hour, is driven by 24-yearold Sarah Ed­wards.

SUB­MIT­TED PHO­TOS

John Quinn of Me­chan­icsville will race his 1955 Chevy with a 427 Dart en­gine.

The East Coast Pro Street Club will hold a large car show fea­tur­ing Chevro­lets of all types, in­clud­ing this com­pletely re­stored 1968 or­ange Ca­maro pro street with a small block and 671 blower owned by Rick Gen­try.

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