Mechanic cultivates a love affair with drag racing


May 08, 1994|By STAN DILLON

Archie Davis of Woodbine loves drag racing. But family, business and time constraints prevent him from racing every event. Still he enjoys it as much as a racer who never misses a program.

Davis loves cars and racing. He has been around both all of his life. He attended 75-80 Dragway regularly and worked on cars with his father.

"I've always been a mechanic," Davis said. "I always worked on cars. My father was a mechanical engineer who did mechanical work on the side. I learned a lot doing side work with him. Then I worked as a mechanic for the Montgomery County school board while I was in high school."

As soon as he was old enough, Davis had his own car, a 1957 Chevrolet, racing the quarter-mile at 75-80. But he never raced regularly.

In June 1991, after working for others, he opened his own automotive repair shop, D&D Mechanical Enterprises in Rockville. Davis does high-performance work as well as mechanical. His work earned him a reputation with drag racers who wanted quality work.

For the past two years, he has been racing weekly, attending the races with his customers and other competitors who work in the same building with him. When racing switches from Sunday afternoons to Friday and Saturday nights, Davis and his friends drive their cars to the track for an evening of fun and racing.

Davis' car is a 1967 Chevy II Super Sport. Painted red, white and blue, his car is easy to spot. It is powered by a 327-cubic-inch Chevrolet small block.

The car, which is a classic as well as a race car, averages 108 mph for the quarter-mile with an elapsed time of 12.34 seconds.

Davis is happy going to the track once a week and doesn't plan on racing more than that in the future.

"I don't want to abuse my privileges," said Davis, 30. "I want to spend time with the family. They don't go with me every week. I just like to go for the fun of it. There are some hard-core racers that go two nights a week, but I am in it just for the fun of it."

Davis competes in Class II, for cars with elapsed times of 11 seconds or more. He drives the car to the track and back each time he races. He likes the new rules that do not allow electronic equipment in his division.

"Now I don't have to go up against guys with sophisticated electronics. I didn't enjoy racing cars that should be in Class I," he said.

Unlike many competitors, Davis does not have any desire to go faster and move up into Class I. His car is capable of higher speeds, but to race in Class I, he would have to install a roll bar. Something he doesn't want to do since it would depreciate the classic value of the car.

Davis enjoys classic cars. His first car was a 1957 Chevrolet. He came across his current car by accident two years ago. Looking for another classic car to restore and race, he went with a friend to look over a 1955 Chevrolet. The car wasn't in good shape, but his friend wanted it.

So Davis ended up buying his friend's Chevy II instead, a car he fell in love with right away.

Weekend results

In weekend racing, Rick Jones of Westminster continued his streak at Winchester Speedway. For the fifth time in as many races, Jones finished in the top five. He finished fifth in the 25-lap late-model feature. The micro-sprints made a rare appearance at the Virginia track with Brad McClelland of Westminster finishing second.

At Lincoln Speedway, Randy Zechman of Westminster finished second in the semi-late feature and Howard Williams of Westminster placed seventh. Williams also won his qualifying race. In the thundercar feature, Greg Messersmith of Hampstead finished fourth.

High winds last Sunday forced 75-80 Dragway to limit racing to 1/8 -mile instead of the normal 1/4 -mile. Joe Mayne of Mount Airy won in Class I for the second consecutive week. Mayne was the 1993 Division I points leader.

In Class II, Steve Hoff of Sykesville won in only his second week of competition after taking last season off. Corey Hess of Taneytown went to the semifinals, Scott Lowman of Woodbine went five rounds and Harris Levin of Westminster went four rounds.

Marvin Ford of Westminster won the motorcycle division and Jarrod Spicer of Woodbine won the Jr. Dragster division.

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