Ron Davies likes to race – period. In a life that includes family, operation of a business and plenty of work on his dirt track Super Late Model in the shop, somehow Davies plans to run between 60-70 events this season. With over 30 races in the books already in 2013 and based on the determination he has shown the last few seasons, he should easily make that goal.
Some of those stops will include Little Valley Speedway, which opens its special event-only season May 26. Davies, of Warren, Pa., is well known to Little Valley’s racing customers as he’s won many races there and came within a point of taking the track’s Super Late Model championship a year ago. The championship was won by Jason Dupont.
Little Valley is the large, fast one-half mile paper clip shaped oval located at the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds.
“We ran good there last year,” said Davies. “I raced at so many places that I’m not sure if I missed a race there or not last year but Jason is a good competitor and I’m glad he won it.”
Now in his 37th season of racing, Davies, 55, has no plans of slowing down. In fact he would run more races if time allowed.
Davies does not limit his racing to local and regional tracks but spans his racing footprint across much of the United States. So far this year, he has raced in Arizona, Georgia and Florida among other states.
The better weather of spring has found him racing more locally in recent weeks and with good success. In McKean County’s (Pa.) opener he won both the Super Late Model and E-Mod events. He next claimed the season opener at Busti’s Stateline Speedway May 4.
While Davies has won from all racing grooves, at Little Valley it is more often than not the daring outside lane up on the top cushion, racing inches from the wall that is the trademark vision most observers are familiar with.
“I like racing the big tracks like Little Valley and during a season as we travel around we race other big tracks too,” said Davies.
“But Little Valley is among the biggest tracks I run. They’ve clocked me at over 120 miles per hour in the straights and I don’t think we slow down much there in the turns, maybe about 85 miles per hour.
“Over the years I have found that most drivers seem to like the lower groove if they can make it work. I like the top groove because there are less racers up there so you have less of a chance of bad things happening in front of you up there. When people spin out or get in pile-ups it tends to be in the bottom groove. I can race around it up top and miss it all, hopefully.”
While Davies likes the sheer speed of the big tracks he explained that those same tracks, due to the higher speeds, do pay a heavier toll on a driver in a race.
“A big fast track like Little Valley is physically demanding just like the smaller tracks but the faster tracks are also more mentally tough and challenging because you are going so much faster so you have to make decisions so much quicker, usually in a split second because of the speed. A few laps can wear you out mentally.”
Davies, who is the son-in-law of Leonard Briggs, one of the original founders of the Stateline Speedway, began his racing career in the Spectator classes at Stateline and Eriez speedways in 1976 before moving to the Cadet ranks in 1977. A year later he moved to the Super Late Model level where he has been ever since, chalking up various race wins and championships.
He operates his own oil and gas producing business which also keeps him quite busy. This season he has switched from a Jimmy Mars built car to one constructed by Davies’ fellow racer and son-in-law, Shane Clanton.
If this is all not enough, Davies also supervises the racing efforts of his son Dan Davies, 27, who competes in the E-Mod class. Someday Ron Davies would like to own and/or operate his own race track and is always seeking opportunities to do so.
“I tried to buy Tri-City Speedway a few years ago but that didn’t work out but maybe down the road someday I will be able to operate my own track,” he said.
In Monday’s auto racing column, it was stated that Elegant Builders Raceway Park has elected not to allow crate type engines in their Sportsman stock car class this season.
Lori Overdorf, EBRP director of stock car operations, wanted to clarify how she arrived at that decision during the recent off-season.
“The decision to not allow crate engines of any kind, either sealed or unsealed at our track, was reached from a general consensus of our race teams, engine builders and also from teams from other classes outside the Sportsman class because teams not in the Sportsman class did not have a stake in the matter but still had informed opinions.
“The decision stands for this year but it does not mean that I won’t revisit the matter in the future and perhaps change things. I am always reviewing all aspects of our stock car program. I hope everyone realizes that I try the best I can to make sure everyone is considered before decisions are made.”