Taylors work their way up drag-racing ranks


February 13, 1994|By STAN DILLON

Editor's note: Because of production problems, Stan Dillon's column last week did not appear in some editions. It is being rerun this week.

For years, Chuck Taylor and his wife, Larie, have been a big part of drag racing at the 75-80 Dragway in Monrovia.

When Chuck isn't racing, he can be found helping other drivers.

Larie is a highly visible part of the Taylor Racing team. She also spends countless hours helping others. She constantly keeps abreast of what other Carroll County drivers do nationally as well as locally and reports the results to local papers.

After racing part time and helping other drivers last year, Chuck Taylor is planning to race a full schedule in 1994.

Taylor has worked his way from Class II to the faster Class I. Last summer, he purchased a dragster to take him down the quarter-mile faster. He has been spending the off-season preparing the new car for the new season.

He adapted to the car immediately. After his license runs, he was runner-up the first time out in a championship event.

The new S&W Chassis dragster is powered by a 460-cubic-inch Ford engine built by Taylor with help from Butch Devilbiss and Doug Devilbiss of Doug's Garage in Westminster. Garrett Engines of Oregon supplied the rods and bearings, and J&E Supply in California provided the aluminum pistons.

Larry Heltebridle of Taneytown supplied the Aluminum Cobra Jet Heads and Donnie Hess of H&H Racing of Taneytown spent many late hours with Taylor working on welding and metal fabrication. Pennzoil Oil in Houston is his major sponsor.

Taylor has made a lot of changes to the car. The original driver was more interested in speed. Taylor wanted stability and consistency.

He and Jon Little of Littlestown, Pa., designed a state-of-the-art wing for the car that helps the car leave the starting grid and race the length of the track perfectly straight.

After a couple of races, Taylor realized the engine would last longer if he invested in an air shifter. The shifter, hooked to an MSD box with chips designed to shift at a specific RPM, allows the car to be more consistent in elapsed times for the quarter-mile run and saves wear and tear on the motor.

The 38-year-old Taneytown driver began working with cars when he was in high school. He started racing 15 years ago with a 1965 Ford Mustang in Class II competition. Four years ago, he moved to Class II with a 1968 Mustang. Two years later he had a Ford Pinto.

Whatever he raced, he finished high in the points qualifying for the bracket finals. He qualified for five straight years before his string was broken last year. That's when he decided to look into racing a dragster.

"I thought it was time in my career to make a change," said Taylor. "It was time to get out and travel some more and race at different tracks. I plan on racing the Super Comp circuit and running close to home when time permits."

The Super Comp car can reach 165 mph in a quarter-mile. It travels the first 60 feet in 1.19 seconds, almost two-tenths of a second faster than the Pinto he raced before.

"It is the fastest car I ever had and the nicest I ever had to drive," said Taylor. "The car reacts so much different from my other cars, you have to keep your mind on everything you do."

Taylor refuses to take all the credit for the way he adapted to the new car. He spent a lot of time talking to other drivers and credits their advice and insight as a big help. Local drivers like Tim Peters, Lee Howe, Dave McCarthy, Joe Mayne and Sev Tingle were always ready to help.

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