LIMA — Some drivers that race at Limaland Motorsports Park come from different parts of the nation. Others make a two-minute drive over to compete on their home track.
That is the case for Max Stambaugh and Darren Long. Both drivers are from Elida and only live a few miles away from the track.
Stambaugh, who will be a senior at Elida, has been pleased with his performances lately.
“We’ve been a consistent car here at Limaland about every week,” Stambaugh said. “We’ve had about five top five’s and we tore it up the first couple of weeks. We’re really consistent lately and that’s what we hope to keep doing.”
Long, who is in his 14th year of racing, hasn’t been as happy with his performances on the track lately.
“Honestly we’ve actually been struggling a little bit up until just last weekend,” Long said. “We finally had some good speed, the speed that we’ve been accustomed to having the last 14 years.”
With temperatures reaching the mid-90s just before racing got underway Friday, both drivers mentioned the heat doesn’t really affect them when they are racing.
“You don’t really notice it that much,” Stambaugh said. “It’s all an adrenaline rush. It’s hot out here walking around in the pits with your suit on but other than that it’s not too bad.”
Long added, “You sweat and get hot but when you’re racing you don’t really think about it. When you’re doing what you’re doing on the race track, you don’t really notice it until you get done when you’re just drenched.”
While some may see competing at a home track an advantage, Long does not see it that way.
“I really don’t like it because I’ve had a lot more fun going to other places,” Long said. “When I come to Limaland, I see 40 people that I know standing at my trailer door and I see them all throughout the week and they’re always asking me what happened here and there. It’s a lot more relaxing for me when I go out of town. A lot of it is also because we raced here for about eight years before I got my first win. Once that happened, the pressure was off a little bit.”
After being a rookie in the sprints at the Limaland track last year, Stambaugh is happy to have the experience of a seasoned veteran now.
“We’re getting better and better every week,” Stambaugh said. “We still haven’t gotten a win here but we’re getting close. I’m usually consistent with my finishes, if I was running for points, I’m usually pretty good at that. I’m also pretty good at hitting my marks.”
Even though Stambaugh and Long aren’t close in age, both still enjoy having somebody else from their hometown out there competing.
“We’re both from Elida and he (Long) is always a gasser,” Stambaugh said. “He’s always up front and tough to get around.”
Long has enjoyed seeing guys from Elida compete and do well on the dirt track.
“It’s pretty cool because there aren’t too many people who drive sprint cars,” Long said. “To have two guys right from Elida is pretty cool. My cousin Mark Long and Travis Miller also graduated from Elida. There might be some that I’m forgetting but it’s kind of neat to be a part of that.”