Car Owner Is Driving Force Behind Successful Team

MOTOR SPORTS

Westminster Businessman Is Proven Winner

September 08, 1991|By Stanley C. Dillon

It takes teamwork to win in racing, and every member is vital to thesuccess of the team.

Although the driver receives all the publicity, no one is more important than a good car owner.

It is obvious that Lee Deavers of Westminster falls into that category. For the last four years, his car has been winning races at Lincoln and Susquehanna Speedways.

First, the car won with Don Zechman of Westminster behind the wheel. Now, Ronnie Grinestaff of Manchester, Pa., is taking the car to victory lanes at an amazing pace.

The driver has changed, but the car owner hasn't. Deavers is your perfect car owner -- he loves racing and knows what it takes to build a winning car.

He doesn't put just any driver behind the wheel. Deavers looks for a driver who can set up the car as well as drive.

BothZechman and Grinestaff fit this criteria, and they have both been winners. Grinestaff replaced Zechman when the latter made plans to racelate models, and the car hasn't missed a beat.

Both drivers have done so well that the black No. 3 with "Lee's Paving" on the side hasdominated the semilate division the last three years.

"The reasonwe win races is that Zech and Ron know how to set up the car," said Deavers. "Zech and I worked on the car when he drove it. Now, I don'tdo as much work since the car is kept at Ron's place."

Last year,Zechman drove the car to 13 feature wins at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa., Susquehanna Speedway in Newberrytown, Pa., andLincoln Speedway in Hanover, Pa.

This year, with Grinestaff behind the wheel, the results are equally impressive. They have won 12 of 21 races at Lincoln. The win total probably would have been higher ifthe division had raced every week early in the season.

It takes money to win, but Deavers keeps it in perspective. Although he admits racing can be expensive, he does not spend as much as some might think he does.

Deavers has been running the same chassis the last three years. The Chevrolet Lumina is powered by a 406-cubic-inch motor.

Since the races are of short duration -- 15 laps or less -- Deavershas kept the price down by having what he calls a medium motor.

"This is not a big crank motor," explained Deavers. "The motor isn't cheap, but a bigger crank motor needed for longer races would cost a lot more."

Deavers has a budget and says he has no intention of moving up to the late models, because they are too expensive. With the season coming to a close, Deavers would park the car rather than spendmoney on it if anything major happens.

He estimates he spends between $10,000 and $12,000 per year, with tires the biggest expense.

"Not everyone can drive race cars," Deavers said of his experience as a driver. A few times behind the wheel was enough to convince him that he was not going to be another Dale Earnhart.

"Owning a car ismy pressure release," said the 43-year-old paving contractor. "Afterworking hard all week, it allows me to get away. If we wreck, I can cuss a little, but if we win, I am happy."

A business owner for the last 15 years, Deavers owns Lee's Paving of Westminster, a small company that specializes in paving driveways, commercial lots -- in short, everything but road work. He has three full-time employees.

Deavers is even more proud of his older car, a low-dollar vehicle whichhe and Zechman used to win a big race against the high-dollar guys at Susquehanna Speedway four years ago. Deavers' son, Tom, now drives the sentimental workhorse.

Deavers has been in racing 25 years. Hestarted working as pit crew with the Boone Brothers in the 1960s andbought his first car from Slim Devilbliss in the early 1970s.

"I started with $500 in the kitty and wound up with $750," said Deavers,knowing that it will never happen again.

After helping Zechman with his car in the mid-1980s, he became a car owner again in 1988. Deavers' wife, Marge, and daughter attend most races and help where theycan.

Deavers has not only left his mark on many driveways in Carroll, but his car is making marks in the record books.

Information about Carroll County motor sports appears regularly in this column. If you have story ideas that you would like to share, The Carroll County Sun would like to know. Please send your ideas to Carroll motor sports, the Carroll County Sun, 15 East Main St., Westminster, Md. 21157-5052. You also may FAX your information to us at 876-0233.

Information: 857-0550, 876-8771 or toll-free (800) 829-8000, Ext. 6595.

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