<%@ Language=JavaScript %> ..:: Maryland Int'l Raceway  -  Budds Creek, MD  ::..

Maryland Int'l Raceway  •  27861 Budds Creek Road  •  Mechanicsville, MD  20659

301-884-9833 (Office)  •  301-884-9878 (Fax)  •  info@mirdrag.com

   MIR e-News Headline

Legends Take Center Stage


September 18, 2013


Press Release courtesy of:  Fabian Brown



Legend - a famous or important person who is known for doing something extremely well. This was the main focus of the event that was the 4th annual Legends at Budds Creek. A dedication to drag racing's glory period. During the days of hot rods and muscle cars, drag racing has evolved from a hobby into a full fledge sport. However let us not forget where drag racing started. Before the days of computer designed engines and racecars, drag racers took their daily drivers and hot rods to the race track to see who was the best of the best. This past weekend at Maryland International Raceway was a celebration of the birth of the sport we all love so dearly. With the main rule of the weekend that any car in participation had to be at least 25 years or older with no rear engine dragsters permitted, it ensured that this event, this celebration will remain true to its intentions and roots.

Day 1 on Saturday saw a line of cars and trailers on the MIR entrance road 3 lanes wide. Everyone came from far and wide to enjoy a gathering of family, friends and nostalgia hot rods. As soon as racing commenced on Saturday morning, it was clear that this weekend would be the best Legends at Budds Creek event to date. Some drivers came to MIR who hadn't been to the track in over 40 years, long before present owner Royce Miller and family began what is now 24 years at the helm. Richard Fox in his beautiful flamed out 1957 Chevy Bel Air took home the win Saturday night in both the Nostalgia AA (Top ET) category and in the King of the Creek runoff which pitted all 3 Nostalgia ET winners against each other. Jake Milstead in his 1987 Ford Mustang, took home the win the Nosalgia BB class, while also claiming runner up honors in the King of the Creek final. Brent Garner and his 1987 Ford Ranger took home the title in the Nostalgia CC class. However the biggest story of the night was the unfortunate crash of popular MIR Top ET racer Mike Nelson Jr, who suffered engine failure and crashed into the wall. Mike was airlifted to the PG Trauma Center for precautionary measures, but is in good spirits with a few minor injuries. Sunday Nostalgia ET winners included Rodney Ward Jr and his 1969 Chevy Nova, who lost in the AA final the night before, Robert Copsey in the CC class with his 1987 Mustang. The biggest thrill of the ET eliminations, on the day his family was inducted into the MIR Hall of Fame, 8 time Mod ET Champion John Mattera in his 1969 Chevy Nova, added one more trophy to the already huge Mattera collection, by not only winning the BB class, but doubling up and winning Sunday's King of the Creek. With his entire family in attendance, all photographers had to use wide angle lenses to make sure that the entire Mattera family could be seen celebrating another win the in MIR Winners Circle.

Until Saturday, never before has an eliminator been run on the 1000 foot distance. Many stick shift associations wanted to be a part of this legendary event, but half ran 1/8 mile and the other half ran 1/4 mile. Royce Miller came up with the solution that the IDG Stick Shift Nationals would be the very first class to run on the 1000 foot. A special 1000 ft. MPH sensor was added to the Compulink timing system, and all series in attendance agreed on the 1000 foot standard. Due to the variety of cars and series in attendance, an exception to the 25 year and older rule was made for this class. With these high horsepower machines banging the gears down the racetrack, it wasn't long before all drivers were able to adjust to the 1000 foot finish line. Former MIR track champion Dan Hoyler of Inwood, WV who is no stranger to the winners circle, made history as he won the IDG Stick Nationals class on Saturday, becoming the first driver to ever win an eliminator on the 1000 foot at MIR. Shannon Wisecarver and his 1966 Chevy Nova was the Sunday winner.

The always popular Wild Bunch 2 superchargers altereds, front engine dragsters and nostalgia funny cars put on a show as only they can. Competing not only for the win, the money and the trophy, but a special cash bonus was put up for the driver who did the best burnout, decided on by the MIR fans. Terry Smith was able to pick up the bounty. MIR Hall of Famer Bunny Burkett selected Matt Stambaugh to pilot her cotton candy Corvette, amongst the likes of "The Flyin' Tomato" Bob White, "The Terminator" Richard Wilson and a host of others. The final came down to the two quickest winning et's from two days of qualifying times, as White and Wilson would face each other one more time, adding another chapter to their historic rivalry. Both drivers left together, but a slightly better reaction time for Wilson enabled him to get the victory on a holeshot, with a 5.999 to Bob's quicker 5.937.

The Southern Slingshots were also on hand; showcasing a field of high horsepower front engine slingshot dragsters in the same configuration as Top Fuel back in the early 1960's. Veteran racer Doug Farace from Towson, MD showed dominance over the weekend, taking home the number 1 qualifier, low et every round of eliminations and the win in his HFR built slingshot, running consistently in the 6.80's. The slingshots kept alive the historic vision of how today's Top Fuel dragsters got started back in drag racing's formative years.

The 2013 MIR Hall of Fame class featured individuals who truly exemplified the meaning of the word "legend". Those whom have made a huge impact on the Southern Maryland drag racing world were honored. The late and great Joe "Woody" Woods, was actually presented his 2013 Hall of Fame plaque by Royce Miller himself shortly before his passing last year. Those drivers who raced with Woods remembered him as a man who truly loved the sport of drag racing and the people he spent time with at the racetrack.

John Parlett was instrumental in not only the evolution of technology in drag racing, but the current MIR as we know it. He has worked closely with Royce Miller on the design of the current MIR, as well as the licensing and zoning permits needed to operate a world class motorsports facility in St. Mary's County. Royce Miller's dreams of what MIR would be were in a large part due to the efforts and dedication of a man who took his rightful place into the MIR Hall of Fame, John Parlett.

The Mattera family has been a staple at MIR for many years. With more than a dozen track championships, including John Mattera's 8 in Mod ET alone, there's no denying that these group of racers always bring their A-game on race day. With the entire family on the starting line being paraded by shuttle down the racetrack in front of the MIR fans, one more trophy can be added to the more than 100 already in the family collection, the Hall of Fame Induction.

The Legends of Budds Creek wouldn't be complete without a great match race. MIR Hall of Famer Dick Estevez in his 1965 Ford Falcon, took on Arnie "The Farmer" Beswick in his 1966 Pontiac GTO. At 83 years young, the oldest driver in competition with a current competition license showed that even at 83, he still had the right stuff as he took round one from Estevez right in the lights on Saturday. Sunday saw Estevez narrowly getting the win on a holeshot, setting up a final round to determine who would be the Legend Match Race King this weekend. Unfortunately, Beswick lost fire at the line, giving the win to Estevez. However, Beswick asked if he could still make a run for the fans, and blistered down the track at a 7.35.

Last but certainly not least, the 422 Nostalgia Super Stocks came to MIR with a tight points battle in their series. With a unique format that saw qualifying based upon reaction time to a 4 tenths full tree, and a driver having to claim his dial in first round for the entire race, these period correct machines let it all hang out as they thundered down the MIR quarter mile. Dave Reitz in his 1964 Dodge with a near perfect reaction time outran Cliff Sebring in his 1963 Savoy to the finish line and claiming the win and further tightening the points battle for the 422 All Stars.



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