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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, June 25, 2009
Davis, raised in a racing family, sets out to win big on his own
By Jordan J. Michael
VOORHEESVILLE Bryan Davis of Voorheesville has been racing dirt tracks for the past three years.
“I’ve been going to the races since I was 1 year old,” said Davis, a 21-year-old Siena College accounting student. “I started working at the Fonda Speedway when I was a teenager. I’ve always been fond of racing.”
Davis started racing in the Budget Sportsman Modified Class in 2007 and currently races every Friday night at Albany-Saratoga Speedway. He has two career wins.
“I think I won in my sixth ever start in 2007 and then I won a race last year,” Davis said. “I’ve had four or five second-place finishes, too. Our division has 30 or 40 cars and we’re currently hovering in the top 10 after finishing 2008 in the top five.”
Bryan’s father, Greg, used to race dirt tracks and Bryan grew up watching him. “He was ultimately born into the racing atmosphere,” Greg Davis said of his son. “Racing is what we do on the weekends.”
The cars run on a clay oval and the vehicles resemble a stripped down racecar. “It’s hard to describe what the cars look like,” Bryan Davis said. “Just think about open wheels.”
Davis’s car has a 350-horsepower General Motors engine. It’s a basic setup under the hood. “You can get that motor at any GM dealer and it doesn’t cost too much,” Davis said. “It’s not that serious.”
In 2003, Davis acquired a streetcar to play around with. “We put some stuff in it and we would go out and mess with it,” he said.
Davis, his father, and Jimmy Cramer handle the car every week. Guilderland Mobil supplies the fuel and Amsterdam Trailer Repair provides the tires.
“If you don’t break anything, then your primary cost is the fuel,” said Davis. “We’re right where we want to be because money is a huge issue nowadays.”
Davis told The Enterprise that he can’t move up in the sport because of the cost. “We can only move up another class, but it’s big money,” he said. “You would spend $30,000 easy and that’s not an option. But, we’re having fun and trying to win while keeping a low budget.”
On a given race night at Albany-Saratoga, there are two or three laps of warm-ups for the racers. This is followed immediately by the heat races of eight laps each to determine the main event of 25 laps. The top four racers from each heat get an automatic main event spot. The other racers get a second chance in the consolation race.
“It’s kind of crazy out there because you have to think quick,” Davis said. “You have little time to adjust your car. The object is to stay straight as much as possible. You’re counterturning the whole race.”
Davis says that the top speed is usually around 72 miles per hour at Albany-Saratoga. “Speed isn’t a huge deal because you can go that fast on the highway,” he said. “However, it’s difficult with all the other cars surrounding you from all angles.”
“I’ve been in a couple of tangle-ups over the years, but not too many,” Davis said. “I’ve had a lot of good luck on the track.”
Davis’s is sponsor, Guilderland Mobil on the corner of routes 146 and 20, will display his car this Saturday and provide food and a raffle for race tickets.
“We’re just trying to get his name out there to the public,” said Tony Cochetti of Guilderland Mobil. “He’s a great driver.”
Davis has no interest in NASCAR. “All’s I care about is the dirt,” he said.
“I understand racing through the perspective of a fan, a worker, and a driver,” he concluded. “It’s a lot of work, but I know what the drivers want.”