Chuck and Laurie Taylor of Westminster are well known in the drag racing community.
And there is good reason for it.
The young couple is always helping other drivers. It is not unusual for Chuck to assist another competitor work on his car while neglecting his own. Because of the demand for his services, he was late instarting the season.
Chuck builds and rebuilds motors, chassis, starters, carburetors and many other parts for oval track racing as well as drag racing. The cars of Mark and Barry Shorb are always up front in the eight cylinder class at Trail-Way Speedway, with Chuck Taylor's Racing Engines in them.
When the other drivers break down, they know where to go. Chuck Taylor helps them all. He carries extra gaskets, wire nuts and other parts when he goes to the track.
He is a man of patience and enjoys helping everyone, especially the beginners. His generosity has earned him the nomination "Gentleman of the Year" the past several years.
When Chuck is not helping others or working as a mechanic at Crouse Ford in Taneytown, he is working on hisown 1978 Ford Pinto. The car is powered by a 351 cubic inch Ford Windsor V-8 motor. The car is capable of speeds in excess of 125 miles per hour.
This will be Chuck's third year with the car. After two years of experimenting and tuning things to perfection, Chuck feels that he has found the right combination to give him the consistency youneed to win in bracket racing.
Three weeks ago, while other cars were slowing down in the 90 degree heat, Chuck ran a 10.92 in three consecutive runs.
If his performance of the past three weeks is anyindication of things to come, he will definitely be one of the drivers representing 75-80 Drag-A-Way in Monrovia at Maple Grove Dragway in Reading Pa. in the nationals later this year.
Chuck, now 35, hasbeen racing for 14 years and started racing when Doug Devilbiss lenthim a car. Taylor's first car was a Ford Mustang that he took to thebracket finals at Maple Grove Raceway four consecutive years (1983-86).
Chuck Taylor is only half of the story. The other half is the spark plug of the team. Laurie, like Chuck, is a big help to everyonein drag racing at 75-80. Together, they are working toward a mutual goal -- professional drag racing. She works full time for Bendix Field Engineering in Columbia.
Each week Laurie gathers the results ofthe Carroll County competitors at 75-80 and makes sure that they aresent to county newspapers. She also spends time working on sponsorships for her husband. And she doesn't forget them after the race, either; she keeps them updated on Chuck's progress. One major sponsor that Laurie has obtained is Fram-Autolite-Bendix.
At the track Lauriekeeps all the records, handles any problems that may arise, helps cool down the car after each run and videotapes the action.
Her workallows Chuck to concentrate on his driving. Each week they view the videotapes, looking for ways to improve Chuck's performance.
Chuck's concentration is intense.
"I consider that I am running myself.I don't pay any attention to the other car, I block them out," said Chuck. "If you think about the other car you get yourself all psychedout. It takes a lot of concentration to get a good start."
Although the Taylor's call 75-80 their home, Chuck plans on doing more traveling this year. His plans include the Ford Meet at Maple Grove and afew Super Street Races.
Chuck is always looking to go quicker andfaster. He is looking forward to running in the Super Gas and Pro-Stock classes. He also has his sights on turning pro some day.
Besides his major sponsor, Chuck feels he could not be competitive withoutfriends like Devilbiss, Tom Cyr of Performance Automatic in Gaithersburg (Montgomery County) and Charlie Spielman.
Chuck's family alsoplays a large role in his success. His sisters Janet and Mary and brother Denny bring experience to the team. His parents, Irene and JohnArbaugh, are his moral support. Together, they are one of the most popular teams in the area.