It takes teamwork to win in motor sports. The Davis Racing team of Westminster owes its success to its team members, a close-knit family that works together.
This year, the Davis Racing team added a new member, the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) in Herndon, Va., as a major sponsor.
The Davis Racing team consists of three brothers -- Cedric, 48, and twins Len and Lee, 42. Len drives the car and does the mechanical work. Lee is the crew chief and makes the final adjustments at the staging area and Cedric is the systems analyst, the computer guy. A fourth brother, Bob, was also in racing until a few years ago.
Len first became interested in drag racing when he was 10.
"My older brothers Larry and Bob took me to 75-80 Dragway one night," recalled Len. "My brother had an Austin Healy roadster and he won his class that night. I said to myself 'this is great.' I knew I wanted to race then."
Len liked drag racing so much that he managed to do some racing before he could drive on the street in the mid-1960s. His first car was a 1965 Dodge Coronet, which he raced until the transmission exploded and ripped a hole in the floorboard. By that time, Lee was racing a 1962 Plymouth Muscle Car. They took the 383-cubic inch motor out of Len's Dodge and put it in the Plymouth. The brothers worked together to form a solid racing team.
In pursuit of speed, the Davis' kept adding power. They raced the car until 1983 when they realized that they would have to cut the car apart to add larger tires and suspension to take advantage of the additional power. Instead, they decided to sell the car to buy a new dragster.
"I wish we still had the car," said Len. "It was a rare Muscle Car. We wanted to go faster, but couldn't ruin the body of the car to do it, so we had to sell it to buy another one. We know the car is still being raced in NHRA [National Hot Rod Association] competition somewhere in the South."
To obtain the speed they wanted, the brothers purchased a Bob Chaney chassis dragster from Chicago shortly after they sold their car. It was powered by a 454 cubic inch alcohol burning Chevrolet.
"The dragster is light [approximately 1,350 pounds] and it doesn't take as much to make it go fast. Everything is out in the open making it easy to work on. We can remove the motor in 20 minutes."
In 1989, they decided to have Chuck DeNinno of Pro-Fabrication Inc. of Gaithersburg build a car from their own designs.
The car has been a steady performer. Len competes in the Division I Winston Championship Series races in the Super Comp division. Unlike bracket racing where you can dial in the time that your car is turning the quarter-mile, in Super Comp competition, the car has to race the quarter-mile as close to 8.90 seconds without going under.
"It is a lot trickier than bracket racing," said Len. "We have a computer to help us adjust the fuel and air mixture in the carburetor to compensate for change in altitude, temperature and humidity. It has all become a science."
Gary Stuhler of Westminster continued his winning ways in the late models. Two months ago, Stuhler won all three races in the Tri-Track Series. Last weekend (July 23-25) in the Super Late Model Summer Series, he won two of the three events.
On July 23 at Bedford Speedway, Stuhler took the lead on the opening lap and lead all 30 laps for the win.
On July 25, Lincoln Speedway played host to the third leg of the series, Stuhler finished second to Rick Eckert of York, Pa. Stuhler won the overall summer series championship.
Cris Eash, formerly of Woodbine, captured the Ed Shafer Memorial at Selinsgrove Speedway July 24.
At Lincoln Speedway July 24, John Casper of Westminster won the qualifying heat in the semi-lates and Randy Zechman finished third in the feature event.
In drag racing action, Jarrod Spicer of Woodbine picked up another Jr. Dragster win Sunday at the Mason-Dixon Dragway.
Joe Mayne of Mount Airy continues to dominate Class I competition at 75-80 dragway. Mayne was runner-up on July 23 and won his class July 24. George Hoff of Westminster was runner-up to Mayne on July 24. Lee Howe of Westminster was a semifinalist.
In Class II action, Jamie Talbert won July 23 and Ben Snouffer of Mount Airy defeated Tom Humm of Taneytown on July 24.
Scott Chasen of Taneytown, a former Class II participant, won the motorcycle class in his debut over Marvin Ford of Westminster.
Steve Owings of Westminster won the micro-sprint feature at Trail-Way Speedway July 24. Brad McClelland of Westminster was second. In the thunder 8-cylinder feature, Gary Herman of Hampstead finished second, John McDonough of Finksburg placed fourth and Mark Shorb of Westminster was sixth. Steve Barnes of Westminster finished eighth in the 4-cylinder main event.