Racing for the track championship in any motorsport takes a lot of dedication. It requires the driver and his crew to be at the track every weekend.
With a couple track titles, Ed Talbert knows what it takes to win.
Talbert was a regular competitor until last year when the demands of his job as a Kubota tractor mechanic at Norbert Richardson & Sons in Woodbine limited his time for racing. Still, he made it to the track more than 20 times and finished in the money in several races.
Talbert likes to race. Most of all, he likes to win and race for the points championship. This year, after racing a limited schedule in 1995, the Woodbine resident plans to join his brother Jamie so they can race for the points as a team.
For the first time, some of the area tracks are allowing competitors to race for the title as a team rather than as individuals. It helps drivers like Ed and Jamie Talbert who have difficulty getting to the track every week.
"We haven't decided how we are going to do it yet," said Ed. "I can't go to every race like I used to because of my job. Racing as a team doesn't strap me down like before. It allows me to do other things I have to do and spend some time with the family."
Ed started racing in 1982 when a friend suggested going to the track.
"My friend Jeff Gosnell and I had been working on this Ford Fairlane. One Wednesday night he said let's go to the track and try the car out. He raced the Fairlane and I raced an old station wagon. On the third round we ended up racing each other and he won. We won some money and didn't know it. He later quit and I am still at it."
Ed and Jamie have won their share of races. Jamie drives an American Motors Spirit powered by a Chevrolet 400-cubic-inch small block. Ed races a 1972 Chevrolet El Camino SS with a 350-cubic-inch engine.
The last year Ed ran for the points, in 1994, he finished fifth at 75-80 Dragway.
His best year was 1990 when he won more than $10,000 with a 1978 Malibu. That year, he won the Race of Champions at Maple Grove Raceway and Jamie went nine rounds and was runner-up in the bracket finals the next day.
In 1986 and 1987, Ed was champion in the Street Eliminator division at 75-80 and credits his reaction time for his success. In two races so far this year, Ed has already cut a 5.01 light with a 5.07 light coming on his first run three weeks ago.
Ed worked on his El Camino in the off-season. He has been satisfied with how the car has been running in his first two outings this spring. But, Ed said, the nine-year old transmission is worn after being used in four different cars and will have to be changed before the point races begin. The car's elapsed time is in the low 12-second range.
Ed has a lot of confidence in the car and himself. He dials his number and knows where the finish line is. If his car spins some coming off the starting grid, he works the brakes at the end of the quarter-mile and judges the finish line off the other car.
Like many local drivers, Ed prefers to keep his car street legal. His last five cars have been El Caminos. "I like the style," he said. "They are unique; it's a combination truck and car. The car hooks up good for me."
"I am a low-budget racer who takes my street car to the track to make money. This year, I am going to have to spend more to be competitive. I still want to win."
Ed is looking forward to racing with his brother. The two will be a team that is going to be hard to beat.
Pub Date: 4/07/96