For Pare, coming home is a drag
Libertytown resident edges Frederick's Bodner in Modified Class at 75-80 Dragway
A former track champion came back to win Saturday night's Modified Class at the 75-80 Dragway, while the current points leader held on to take the Outlaw Drag Radial.
Robert Pare of Libertytown had not been back to the Monrovia track since it reopened in 2009, despite being a past champion. But for his return, he faced one of the largest Modified fields of the year,
"I love this track," Pare said. "It's only five miles from my house, and I used to come here all the time."
After a lengthy wait in pit row pushed the final to nearly midnight, Pare squared off with Dicky Bodner of Frederick. Pare finished the quarter-mile in 10.343 seconds, hitting a top speed of 117.37 miles per hour.
Bodner was right next to him, finishing in 10.464 and chasing him at 126.4 mph.
"We're both buddies; we race together all the time," Pare said. "It's the first time we've both been back since it reopened."
Pare and Bodner usually race at the Mason-Dixon Dragway, but the Hagerstown venue was doing a special event. They jumped at the chance to get in a race at their old stomping grounds.
The nostalgia made Pare strongly consider coming back full-time to the 75-80, but for now said he plans on staying at the Mason-Dixon.
"I'm No. 1 at Hagerstown, and I don't want to mess that up," Pare said.
Pare then had Bodner join him in the Winners Circle, having both cars and drivers in the picture shoot.
In the Outlaw Drag Radial class, Bobby Demilt of Gaithersburg expanded his lead in the points standings. Going into Saturday's action, he already had a 35-point lead on Mount Airy's Duane Durbin, 241-206. The next closest competitor had only 89 points.
In the first round of elimination, the announcer credited Ev Bernardo with beating Demilt. Despite being the slower car, Bernardo got the holeshot a quicker reaction off the line.
But his reaction time was a little too good. Bernardo was red-lighted for nudging across the line before the green light. Demilt noticed this before the run.
"I knew once he deep-staged, I saw his car bounce a little," Demilt said. "It's just one of those things that happens in racing."
It did not affect Demilt's methodical charge up through the races, as he picked up his third heads-up win of the season.
Driving a 1993 Ford Mustang with a 565-cubic inch Chevy big block, the past two weeks have been an exploration for Demilt and his army-sized pit crew. Initially, he was using 315 drag radial tires, but two weeks ago he switched to 325s.
Last week, the results were not as good, with a loss in the finals. But his team adjusted, sending he and the pit crew to the Winner's Circle for a victory picture.
Demilt noted that he has three consistent members of his crew, including Ricky Callaway of Frederick and Barry Scott of Olney.
Chris Shannon, his cousin from Gaithersburg, made one of the bigger contributions. As the owner of Shannon Auto Body, he got Demilt a place to build his car.
The other big race of the night came in the Top/Box/Class I semifinals, where four states were represented.
Jerry Shrewbridge of West Virginia beat the local, Mike Bower of Finksburg. And Alan Hess of East Berlin, Pa., the eventual champion, beat Bobby Martin of Leesburg, Va.