Right on track
Locals excel at MDIR Super Chevy show
When the Christmas tree lit up at the Super Chevy show last weekend at Maryland International Raceway, local racers were rewarded with victories.
Southern Maryland produced three local winners over Saturday and Sunday as Bobby Mattera of Waldorf (Mod), Tony Anthony of Indian Head (Street) and La Plata’s Brent Martin (Top) each claimed wins in Saturday’s competition.
Leonardtown’s Kevin Williams (Top ET) was a two-time runner-up and Chaptico’s Cameron Gibson (Junior Dragster) and Huntingtown’s Buddy Cranford and Mechanicsville’s Andrew Grant (Street) each added one second-place finish.
The 31st edition of the All-American original automotive tour brought together the largest collection of Chevy vehicles, according to a news release.
The event was the sixth stop in the eightevent series, which concludes in mid-October in Arizona.
In the Junior Dragster series, Brooke Keyton of Severn won Sunday’s event to match her brother, Brad, who won Sunday’s Top ET competition.
AJ Jenkins of Mechanicsville was Southern Mar yland’s top finisher on Saturday when he made it to the fourth round, while Gibson lost by a slim margin to winner Jordan Mason on Sunday.
“It makes me happy,” said 9-year-old Ariana
Bachmeier of Warrenton, Va., who started racing just two months ago and fell to Hailey Pumphrey of Waldorf in Round 2 on Saturday. “You sit there with your helmet on, your hand on the steering wheel and you keep your foot on the brake and when it turns green you know when to go. I like that my car goes fast.”
In Mod ET, Mattera won Sunday’s event, while Steven Bean took Saturday’s competition.
“The first run was good,” said Keith Simpkins of Hughesville, who fell to John Mattera of Waldorf in Round 3 on Saturday. “The car felt really good, the track felt good. Even with all the heat — and the humidity is still here (track temperatures reached about 130 degrees) — but it’s going to get better throughout the day.”
In Top ET competition on Saturday, Greg Thompson of Port Tobacco and Wayne Palmer of Hughesville each reached the semifinals.
“It’s something I do,” said 79-year-old Charlie Yingling of Waldorf, whose first race was at Aquasco in 1957 and who was doing finishing touches on his ‘77 Vega as he waited for time runs. “The key to doing well is running the number I got dialed on the car.”
Mickey Nelson of Leonardtown,
who said he clocked reaction times of .005 and .014 seconds on the tree and identical times of 4.85 on his first two runs, said the key was “doing the same thing seven more times.”
Nelson, who was racing a 2016 American dragster, made it to Round 3 on Saturday.
“My parents did it and I love it. It’s a thrill,” said the 35-year-old Patuxent River government contractor. “If you’re new to it, [it’s nerve-wracking], but I’ve been doing this so long.”
In Pro Mod, Fredy Scriba of Millersville took the 13-car bracket with a finals win over Dwayne Wolfe, who fouled at the line, but zoomed down the track anyway.
Super Chevy magazine was also on hand for the car show awards.
“You’re looking for attention to detail, how difficult certain changes were to make, the quality, a good finish, and on a restored car how well it’s done,” said Super Chevy judge Ron Fetter, who has been with the magazine since 1994. “We’re not just looking at the engine, we’re looking at the firewall, we’re looking at the cylinders brakes, and the frame. There’s a lot under the hood and that’s a big part of our judging is the engine.”
Several locals won car show awards, including Danny Hartley of Owings (Best Engine) and Editor’s Pick award winners Larry Morris of Bushwood and Arnold Warmer of Waldorf.
“I feel good, really good. It’s the first time I’ve won an award for the engine, normally it’s for the car,” said Hartley of his 1968 Camaro, which a friend gave him for helping build a pickup truck. The car, an old dragster, stood atop his H&H Truck company building in Upper Marlboro for several years before he decided to restore it. “I decided to get it down and start rebuilding it, and it took me three years.”
“I like being around the people and talking about the cars and getting to know new people and new ideas about what you can do,” said Chris Pasquinelli of Fort Washington, who purchased a 1986 GMC Caballero he found in Florida as a gift for his father. “He thought it was another of mine for my collection and I said, ‘It’s for you’ and when he asked why I said, ‘For being my dad.’”
Charlie Yingling of Waldorf, whose first race was at Aquasco in 1957, poses next to his 1977 Chevy Vega while awaiting a time trial run in the Top ET class on Saturday.
John Mattera of Waldorf and his 1969 Chevy Nova fell in the fifth round of the Mod class to brother John Mattera.