Speed and more speed on tap at MDIR
Racetrack hosts Super Chevy and Jet Wars
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.”
The Queen of Diamonds II, which can attain speeds of up to 300 miles per hour, is driven by 24-yearold Sarah Edwards.
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.