MDIR fin­ished 2018 with plenty of cham­pi­ons

Smith led new class at track

The Calvert Recorder - - Sports - By COLIN STOECKER [email protected]­news.com

A new class at Mary­land In­ter­na­tional Race­way meant suc­cess for more driv­ers in 2018.

Win­ners for 2018 in­cluded first-time cham­pion and two-year run­ner-up in Top ET Rob­bie Par­lett, Mod ET sec­ond-year cham­pion Tony Mat­tera, Ju­nior Drag­ster win­ner Jordan Denny, Speed Un­lim­ited Mid­night Mad­ness first-ever Diesel class cham­pion Bren­dan Quade and Mid­night Mad­ness mo­tor­cy­cle cham­pion De­shaye Ma­honey.

New this year to MDIR was win­ner Clin­ton Smith, who raced this year in track’s new­est class, the Ray’s Sid­ing No Clock Street List.

On the fi­nal night of the sea­son, Smith lost a spot and fell to num­ber two, but took the top po­si­tion back quickly to get his first-ever cham­pi­onship.

“This was my first year do­ing no clock street,” Smith said. “It’s more for a street car, thou­sandth flick, no time deal, grudge rac­ing event. A list of top 10 cars that go against each other all and they have a shootout ev­ery night, so that when peo­ple win the shootout, they can go against each other. You get to make a test pass and we beat each other up for three rounds to find a win­ner.”

Smith races a soupedup Ford Mus­tang, in con­trast to some of the more clas­sic cars rac­ing in the Mod ET class that MDIR has built its brand around.

“I had a cou­ple com­peti­tors, but the big­gest com­pe­ti­tion was the shootout we did down in Rich­mond. I got knocked out in the semi­fi­nals. I was fight­ing some grem­lins on the car,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to MDIR, Smith held the top spot in his class for most of the year.

“My hard­est com­peti­tors were Dominic Emilio at num­ber three. And David Gates who’s num­ber

two. Us three have been the ones beat­ing each other,” Smith said. “It’s a thou­sand-foot drag race. We had to make the class be­tween ni­tro and turbo cars. They made it at the thou­sand foot to be in be­tween the two.”

Winning for Smith took a lot of hard work and even more help­ing hands.

“I would like to thank Tim Es­sick. He’s our tuner,” he said. “I would con­trib­ute the suc­cess of the build of the car to friends and fam­ily. Spe­cial shoutouts would be to David Smith, my wife Jenna Smith, for supporting me and be­ing there for me. And a cou­ple friends, John Barnes for the turbo work, Tony Scoop for the cage work, Daniel Buck­ler for all the me­chan­i­cal help and track sup- port, and Stephen Cross.”

MDIR re­cently an­nounced what it says is its most jam­packed sched­ule ever in 2019 and Smith hopes to hold on to his top spot.

“I’d like to hang onto that num­ber one spot by the end of next year, to win some new shootouts,” Smith said. “I would like to con­tinue rac­ing in this class. I’m do­ing a turbo up­grade, the power of Tur­bonetiks helped keep out front this year and the power of pre­ci­sion will help us con­tinue into next year.”

In ad­di­tion to up­grad­ing the car in the off time, Smith stands by the fact that he is a Ford guy.

“I love Ford, I’ve al­ways been a Mus­tang guy my whole life. The new mo­tor is called a Coy­ote mo­tor, and it’s un­stop­pable,” he said.

There are peo­ple at the track who choose to stick to their clas­sic car roots. That in­cludes Tony Mat­tera, who has been rac­ing his 1968 Chevy Ca­maro since he was a teenager.

Now, at 43 years old, Mat­tera — whose son and daugh­ter com­pete in Ju­nior Drag­ster while brother Bobby Mat­tera also races at the track — won the Mod ET class for a sec­ond year run­ning, and is look­ing to de­fend his cham­pi­onship ti­tle.

“Mod ET is a stock rac­ing class,” Tony Mat­tera said. “There’s no elec­tron­ics. It’s a foot­brake class. There’s more race cars than any­thing in the class. I started rac­ing about 27 years ago, since I could drive, and have been rac­ing in the whole class the whole time. We up­graded the car, but it’s the same one I used to de­liver piz­zas in. It’s a 1968 Ca­maro and the first car I bought.”

Some rac­ers pre­fer to keep it clas­sic, like Mat­tera, and MDIR has races for ev­ery type of racer, no mat­ter what kind of car they have.

“My car has a big block Chevy mo­tor,” Mat­tera said. “It’s pretty stock for a race car. It doesn’t get driven on the street any­more. I bought it when I was 15 and I would race it on the week­end.”

Mat­tera’s class is con­trolled by foot­brake, mean­ing that the cars aren’t trig­gered by a but­ton, but rather by the driver’s feet when the light on the race­way turns green.

“It’s a foot­brake class,” Mat­tera said. “It’s when you would send your car, with one foot on the brake and one on the gas, let go of the brake and stomp on the gas. “Top ET has elec­tron­ics and they use a but­ton, so it’s a lit­tle more hand-eye co­or­di­na­tion. It’s kind of like your daily driver class.”

This year’s cham­pi­onship did not come eas­ily for Mat­tera.

“We were kind of fight­ing back and forth for the points lead, it got down to two, me and an­other guy,” he said. “He led the points most of the year. I took the points lead to­wards the end of the year, but I won two races out of the year and just got a bunch of rounds.”

Mat­tera added: “Ac­tu­ally last year I won the cham­pi­onship, so I won it again this year. Last year was my first, so it felt good again. I’ve been rac­ing since I could drive. And I’ve been try­ing to get wins, and try­ing to get a cham­pi­onship com­ing in sec­ond place three or four times was tough. My son won in the Ju­nior Drag­ster class, but I didn’t win, so I got that one last year and it felt re­ally good.”

Mat­tera has a lot to look for­ward to this year at the race track.

“I just want to de­fend the cham­pi­onship again, and make it three in a row,” he said. “My daugh­ter wants to win in Ju­nior Drag­ster. She just turned 12, this will be her fifth year rac­ing.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Tony Mat­tera hits gas and revs to­ward the fin­ish at the Mary­land In­ter­na­tional Race­way ear­lier this year. Mat­tera won the Mod ET class cham­pi­onship ti­tle for his sec­ond year in a row. His son and daugh­ter have par­tic­i­pated in the Ju­nior Drag­ster class in the past.

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