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OWCZARCZAKS' TRACKS ALL LEAD TO LANCASTER

The Owczarczaks soon will have a lot of time on their hands. That is because every member of the family is involved in racing at Lancaster Dragway, which will hold its season finale Friday night.

Barb Owczarczak is the assistant to Lancaster drag racing director Gary Westfall. Her husband, Mike, is a driver in the Super Pro division. One son, 18-year-old Mike, operates the computer during the drag races and works at the Speedway's ticket gate during Saturday stock car racing. The other son, Chris, works in the speedway concession stands.

The Owczarczaks believe that the family that goes to the races together, stays together.

"I know that racing is a family sport," Barb said. "But it is out of necessity that it has to be a family sport. A lot of time and money goes into a racing team.

"I've seen competitors who have gotten married and never came back to racing. If you want others in the family to support racing, you have to bring them with you to the track and get them involved.

"If they learn about the sport, it's something the family can share. The family approach is something I've seen a lot more of the last few years."

Mike started racing Street cars at Lancaster in 1975. In 1978, he left racing to marry Barb and devote time to raising their children.

He returned to racing in the drag bike division in 1983, won championships in 1988 and '89 and moved to dragsters in '92.

"When I came back to racing in 1983, Barb starting going with me as well as our son Mike, who was only about five at the time," said Mike, driver of The 103.3 The Edge/Action Guaranteed Auto Glass/Tomasello Limousine dragster.

"I enjoy having my family there. You don't feel like you're racing alone when they're at the track."

Now that Barb is a race official, she has had to make hard decisions effecting all competitors, including her husband.

"We don't talk about racing except at the track," Mike said. "At one time we did, but about six years ago we decided to keep the racing at the track.

"Once in a while she'll ask me about something, because she, as well as everybody else, knows that I'm opinionated. I tell people, including my wife and Gary, what I think, not what I think they want to hear."

Mike has worked in various capacities for the track, including infield duty for the stock car events on Saturday. For now, he's concentrating on driving.

He won his first race of the season two weeks ago.

"I starting coming to the races with Mike after we had our children and didn't know a thing about drag racing," confesses Barb. "I soon became the Bike division director and then went on to Super Pro director a few years later. I was promoted to assistant race director in 1995."

She says her relationship with Westfall is important to her success.

"Gary is one of my best friends. There are times that a situation comes up at the track and I have one opinion of what should be done and Gary has another.

"What we do is sit down, take a moment to think the thing out and then we come to one unified solution."

Both parents work full-time outside of their busy racing endeavors. Barb works more than 50 hours a week at a retail store but is always willing to help out at Lancaster.

"If the track management gets in a bind and needs something done, they can call our family and we'll be there," Mike said.

The Lancaster points races heading into Friday's 7:30 p.m. finale are as follows: Bob Runge leads Dick Montgomery in Super Pro, 93-92; Brian Ihrig and Alan Fletcher are tied atop Bikes with 91 followed by MIke Dziamski with 90; Joe Urbino leads Ken Staschak in Pro, 108-100; Greg Kerl has a 104-98 edge over Fran Pepi in Heavy; the team of Dave and Steve Weller have clinched Street with an insurmountable 117-98 lead.

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