BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME
Thankfully there are numerous “circuit-type” races for various classes held all over the country. From the obvious outlaw classes, manufacturer-only type races and of course NHRA-style classes, they allow those an opportunity to get out and enjoy their type of competition. And I’m glad to see those events prospering. One of those was held this past weekend I had the pleasure to attend, an event that held a special significance for everyone attending.
The Mid Atlantic .90 Association has been holding events for years here on the east coast catering to the .90 classes. The first event of this year was scheduled for May, but it took on a special occasion.
This past January, Dave Stine and his wife Kara were involved in a four-wheeler accident which claimed Dave’s life. Dave was an active Super Comp participant attending many of the Mid Atlantic .90 events. In addition, his wife Kara is a noted Top Dragster and Super Comp racer in her own right with a couple of wins and a division championship to her credit along with coming from a notable racing family, the Strickers.
Shortly after Dave’s passing, Kara’s father Jeff contacted Mid Atlantic .90 promoter Rob Keister with an idea. “Jeff inquired about helping to put on the largest paying Super Comp race ever in conjunction with one of our Mid Atlantic series events,” said Keister.
Thanks to some great sponsors like Roadrunner Race Fuels, VP Race Fuels, W&T Pipeline Consultants, P&L Garage, and AA Auto Salvage, what transpired was what I believe to be the largest paying race to the Super Comp class; or at least I believe it to be; $10,000 to the winner, all of it guaranteed. At about the same time; and not to leave out the other two .90 classes; other sponsors such as DXI Construction, Nitro Fish, Competitive Suspension, ISC Racers Tape, CLK Customs, and Intelligent Security Solutions helped to award $5,000 to the winner of Super Gas and Super Street. In addition, Maple Grove Raceway added their own Top Challenge Series for Top Dragster and Top Sportsman to the fray with their own special payout.
I was really happy to see over 200 racers show up to support this special event, 84 alone in just the Super Comp class. Prior to the first round of eliminations on Saturday, a special moment on the starting line honored the memory of Dave while his wife Kara and Dave’s brother Dean rode Dave’s motorcycle slowly down the track with his family, dad John, mom Joyce, and others taking the opposing lane in Dave’s truck.
On Saturday night, a pig roast again honored Dave’s memory. “We had planned and purchased the pig,” said Kara’s father Jeff, “but we never imagined having this many attend. We then went out and bought extra hamburgers and hot dogs just so that everyone was fed. Both my family and the Stines were so honored to have every one of our friends show up.”
In what may have been a fitting end to the day, Dave’s friend Tom Stalba scored the special Super Comp trophy and check.
Me? I lost at six cars to a guy (Stalba) who had a better set of brake pads than myself. But it was enjoyable to see so many show up to support not only a great cause but also a great payout. Yeah, I know, lots of racers want to attend a national or divisional event, some looking for that maybe elusive Wally. But there are a lot of other races happening across the country which may not get you a Wally, but carry with them some great payouts; and in some cases, memorable trophies by themselves.
A lot of those events are put on simply to give back to the racers, with little concern for making a profit. But I’m pleased when I hear they’re successful; pleased for the promoters and pleased to report that drag racing is not dead. Racers just want to race. What’s the term from that 1989 movie, Field of Dreams? “Build it and they will come.”