Need for speed

Elk­ton Mini Grand Prix brings rac­ing down­town

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JANE BELLMYER jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

ELK­TON — The Mini Grand Prix was a fun day of rac­ing in its third year, but not with­out some drama.

The an­nual event or­ga­nized by Bran­don Hol­len­baugh, owner of Premier Auto & Tire, was in an early heat when the Jo­beth Bow­ers Law-spon­sored car driven by Tim Heaps, of Elk­ton, slammed into hay bales on the turn from Main Street to Bow Street. Heaps flew off and the go-kart came to a stop sev­eral feet away, mi­nus a piece of its bumper.

“He was just com­ing around the cor­ner. He went there and his car went there,” said Joan Hawkins, who wit­nessed the wreck. “I was stand­ing on that out­side wall and I said I’m prob­a­bly safer on the in­side.”

She moved with time to spare.

Heaps broke three ver­te­brae in his back, ac­cord­ing to his wife, Amanda Heaps. How­ever, other than be­ing sore, doc­tors at Chris­tiana Hos­pi­tal told the Elk­ton cou­ple that Tim’s in­juries will heal.

“There’s noth­ing they can do,” Amanda said Tues­day of any pos­si­ble treat­ment for the breaks in his L2, L3 and L4 ver­te­brae. “It’s def­i­nitely se­ri­ous ... but he’s get­ting around.”

Heaps said her hus­band raced last year for the Jo­beth Bow­ers team with no in­ci­dents. This year he col­lided with an­other driver on a turn.

“He tried to pass an­other guy and ran over his wheel by ac­ci­dent,” Amanda said. “It might have looked like he wasn’t in pain, but he was.”

Once the race re­sumed there were a few other mishaps, none as se­ri­ous, in which driv­ers knocked hay bales askew or mis­man­aged the course and spun into the wrong di­rec­tion.

“Premier has manda­tory train­ing,” said Paul Bauern­schmidt, a vol­un­teer as­signed to the flag crew along the route.

He said most of the 30 driv­ers com­pet­ing Satur­day were lo­cals, with gokarts spon­sored by lo­cal busi­nesses.

“Some drive their own car like Peter Kirsch. Steve Moon has one of his em­ploy­ees driv­ing for him,” he said.

Kyle Fletcher ad­mit­ted he came to see cars spin out, and has come all three years.

“I don’t like to see peo­ple get hurt,” he said of the wreck. “That was a bad crash.”

Kevin Marvel was look­ing for the car rep­re­sent­ing his in­surance agent.

“This is pretty neat,” he said as the go-karts flew down Main Street. “I used to race these on a dirt track, so I’m kind of into it.”

Aaron McDon­ald called it “Ce­cil­tucky at its finest.”

“We’ve got the de­mo­li­tion derby and we’ve got this,” McDon­ald said. “It’s en­ter­tain­ing.”

He fig­ures it is a sport he may try him­self.

“I’m very in­ter­ested. I may want to do this next year,” he said.

So does Nate Ken­dro. But that’s still a few years away. The race fan from Up­per Chich­ester, Pa., is just 5 years old.

“I think the No. 3 car is go­ing to win,” Ken­dro said, adding he ex­pects the grand prix cars to travel 200 mph.

Ac­tu­ally Bauern­schmidt said the top speed — at least on the track in down­town Elk­ton — was about 30 mph.

Lucinda Ham­mond en­joyed watch­ing the races but said her time to take that wheel has passed.

“I’m not that ad­ven­tur­ous at 70,” Ham­mond said. “I did this when I was younger and I still ride on the back of a mo­tor­cy­cle.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

A go-kart driver flies down Main Street in a heat of the Mini Grand Prix held Satur­day in Elk­ton.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

Driv­ers in the Mini Grand Prix in down­town Elk­ton ma­neu­ver through the course along Main Street Satur­day.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

Spec­ta­tors sat along the course to watch the Mini Grand Prix in Elk­ton Satur­day.

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