Cavey goes from fan to driver


September 19, 1993|By STAN DILLON

Drag racing never entered Steve Cavey's mind when he attended his first race at 75-80 Dragway in the early 1970s. He would have never gone if a friend hadn't been racing and wanted Cavey to watch him.

He enjoyed his first visit enough that he continued going to the races.

In 1973, three years after his first visit, his friend asked him if he wanted to buy his car. Cavey decided to try it, and he has been a regular at the Monrovia track for 20 years.

"When I first started racing, I was just going to go a couple times a month, just like I did as a spectator," said the 38-year-old Westminster native. "But it really got to be fun and I just kept going back every week."

While most competitors buy new cars or change rides from time to time, Cavey still races the Plymouth Duster that he purchased from his friend.

"The car has been as consistent as can be," said Cavey. "I ran the original motor 16 years before it broke a rod."

Replacing the motor has been his only major expense. Cavey replaced his old motor with an identical 340-cubic-inch Plymouth engine.

Cavey concentrates on consistency, not speed. His current elapsed time is almost the same as it was when he started. When he purchased the car, the Duster was capable of doing the quarter-mile in 11.9 seconds. Now, Cavey regularly turns in a elapsed time of 11.5.

He is satisfied with the speed and never has tried to go faster. He realizes going faster can be more expensive, especially in broken parts.

Cavey has no secret for his success. He checks the air pressure, oil and transmission fluid before he leaves for the track. The car is so consistent that all he has to do is concentrate on cutting a good light at the starting line.

Every two years he freshens his motor. He tears it down and rebuilds it himself replacing any worn parts. He has Morris Automotive in Manchester do his machine work.

Cavey slowed down to one night a weekend in 1986 when he built a house and started a family. Before then, he raced at least twice a week and chased the points. Cavey qualified almost every year for the bracket finals and had several top-10 finishes, including a second, fourth, sixth and eighth.

This has been an off-year for Cavey. His name regularly appeared in the final rounds in the past, but has been missing most of this year.

"This is definitely one of the worst years since I started racing," said Cavey. "Maybe I am not concentrating enough."

While most cars in Class I have electronic delay boxes that many competitors feel give them an edge when leaving the line, Cavey does not have one.

"They still have to let go of the button [on delay boxes] the same as I have to put my foot on the gas," said Cavey. "I am just having a bad year with no luck at all. I haven't been doing too much to write about this year, but I am still having fun.

"I know the car is right. All I have to do is concentrate more."

Cavey has kept costs down and has won his share of races without spending exorbitant amounts of money.

"Basically my car is a grocery-getter," said Cavey. "It is just about street legal. It still has all the lights, the only change is it has a roll bar and a special seat."

Westminster Speed and Sound is Cavey's major sponsor. During the week, he works for the Department of Defense.

Although he has not raced as much since building his house, Cavey expects to become more active and join the point chase again.

Weekend results

Cris Eash of Woodbine continues to dominate the super-sprint action at Selinsgrove Speedway. Eash started ninth and worked his way up to second by the second lap. He took the lead on the 10th lap and never looked back as he registered his 12th victory of the year.

Darren Eash finished fifth in the super-sprint feature at Lincoln Speedway after placing 10th in the Tuscarora 50 at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway the night before. In other Lincoln action, Jesse Wentz of Manchester won his qualifying heat. John Moser Jr. of Westminster was ninth in the semi-late feature.

Rick Jones of Westminster and Charlie Schaffer finished third and fourth, respectively, in late-model action at Winchester Speedway last Saturday. Schaffer won the late-model track championship last week. Jones was fifth in points in his rookie year in the late models and his brother Ernie was 10th.

Gary Stuhler of Westminster won the B-Main at Eldora (Ohio) Speedway to advance into the 24-car field for the World 100. Stuhler finished 17th of the 178 late models.

Steve Owings of Westminster outran the field to claim the win in the micro-sprint feature at Trail-Way Speedway. Brad McClelland Westminster was fourth. In other Trail-Way action, Mark Shorb of Westminster was seventh and John McDonogh of Finksburg was eighth in the eight-cylinder division. Steve Barnes of Westminster was second in the four-cylinder division followed by his brother Matt in fourth. Randy Enos of Hampstead was eighth in the street stock division.

In four-cylinder action at Potomac Speedway, Brad Green of Westminster finished eighth.

Last weekend at 75-80 Dragway, Ray Lewis of Woodbine won the Quick 8 "Doorslammers" division. The Doorslammers class is for the fastest eight cars that qualified during time trials. In Class I competition, Russell Barefoot of Mount Airy beat Ray Lewis. Mount Airy drivers Danny Householder, Tony Vaughn and Nathan Etzler along with Tom Higgs of Sykesville went four rounds of elimination. In Class II, Corey Hess of Taneytown went five rounds. Glen Farina and Scott Lowman of Woodbine and Tom Humm of Taneytown each went four rounds.

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