Two years ago Ed Hindall of Maumee, with the support of his wife, did what most 41-year-old race fans only dream about. He bought a race car.
As he was getting the blue 1994 Chevy Lumina street stock ready for the 2000 season at Flat Rock Speedway, Hindall found out first hand what people mean when they say that “auto racing is a family sport.” Of his seven-person pit crew, four are family members: wife Marian and daughters Renee and Nicki, along with Nicki's husband, Joel Kiger. Rounding out the crew are three people Hindall works with at MSC Walbridge Coating: Scott Fitzpatrick of Curtis, Mike Miller of Pemberville and Justin Beil of Maumee.
Depending on what happens to the car during the races he competes in on the quarter-mile asphalt oval at “The Rock” on Saturday night, Hindall said that he and the crew spend 10 to 20 hours a week getting the 350 cubic inch Chevy V-8-powered race car ready for the next race. Last week's major project found Hindall's oldest daughter, Nicki Kiger, outlining the No. 48's silver numbers with fluorescent orange paint.
“They told me that they couldn't see the numbers from up in the scorers' tower. They should be able to now,” Hindall said.
While Hindall, a Rossford High School graduate, looks forward to the challenge of competing against his fellow drivers each week at the southeast Michigan speedway, it is the family involvement that makes his “hobby” fun. “For all of us it's kind of a weekend outing.”
“When you are out there with other cars you have something to set your pace by. `If he can run that fast, I can run that fast.' But when you're out there by yourself you have nothing to go by. It's just you and the track for two laps.”
And just how important is it that one does his best while racing against the clock for those two laps? Hindall explained that one's time, the fastest of the two laps, determines not only where one lines up at the start of a race, but with the “five-tenths” rule, used at both Flat Rock and Toledo speedways, how fast you run in the races.
“Any time you are leading a lap you are timed, and if you turn a lap 0.5 seconds faster than you qualified, you're black-flagged.” With the slower cars starting the heat races in the front rows this rule is designed to stop a driver from sand-bagging (turning a slow lap in a fast car in an effort to get a front-row starting position).
Get-well cards and letters to 305 sprint car driver Cortney Rapp, who was injured in an accident at Fremont Speedway on April 28, will reach her at: Cortney Rapp, c/o Ed Kennedy, 1265 Sandusky Co. Rd. 238, Fremont, Ohio 43420.