Drivers hit the fast lane in Monrovia
75-80 Dragway beckons for weekend racing enthusiasts looking for a thrill
Ed Rozzelle had to be talked into competing in the Modified Class at the 75-80 Dragway in Monrovia Friday night.
The 49-year-old Ijamsville resident had already lost his initial $40 investment after taking a first-round loss in his 1964 Ford Fairlane.
But Rozzelle decided to push his luck, buying back into the race for a $30 fee. He beat out a Luke Morris and his station wagon for the final, covering the quarter mile in 10.355 seconds.
"[Fellow racer] Larry Mack talked me into it," Rozzelle said. "He also split the buy-back cost, so I owe him a steak dinner now."
Rozzelle hit a top speed of 121.88 mph, but more importantly, he stayed consistent. Modified racing isn't necessarily about speed, which is why Morris was still a threat while going only 100.80 mph. Instead, it's about consistently going fast.
Racing enthusiasts such as Rozelle gather frequently at the 75-80 Dragway to test their skills and their machines against each other from April through October each year. There are 11 different classes of racing offered each Friday and Saturday night.
Rozzelle and his Fairlane have been running for 30 years now. He noted a big part of the help was Tom Cyr, his boss at Performance Automotive Transmissions. Over the past 25 years, the two have kept the Fairlane running.
Mack, one of the mainstays at 75-80, was hoping to see a matchup between Rozzelle and longtime friend and rival Dave Tolley, but the Monrovia resident had a red-light violation in the quarterfinals.
Even so, Rozzelle will be able to pay for a few steak dinners with a purse of $375.
The winner of the Top/Box/Class 1 was Mike Bower of Finksburg, who got his rail to run 134 mph and finish the 1/8-mile in 5.067 seconds
Duane Durbin of Mount Airy won the Outlaw Drag Radials race, taking out the 1/8-mile in 5.310.
Matt Bowie of Gaithersburg beat Jack Williamson in the Nine Inch Nightmares Class in a time of 6.570. He said conditions were not optimal, but it probably was what got him his first win of the season.
In the Bandits, Brunswick's Leslie Tobery couldn't fend off Charles Testerman Jr. of Martinsburg, W.Va.
Testerman won with a 7.545 time. Tobery, who was having an otherwise dominant night until the finals, finished at 7.709.