In Their Words - Volume 11. Davis Racing * Courtesy of Chateau Speedway History Facebook Group Page.

January 2, 2020

                                                               In Their Words - Davis Racing


In our latest “In Their Words” we went from doing one visit, to two, and then to three.  During the 2019 Chateau Speedway Awards Banquet we talked with Jimmy Davis about doing one of these interviews.  It was than discussed that maybe his dad, Jim, would like to be included.  That led as you will see to inviting Brandon to sit in as well.  It turned into a very enjoyable 3-way conversation about 3-generations of drivers and their experiences in 3 different eras of racing at The Track.  While Jim never won a Track Championship at Chateau Speedway the family has 7 of them.   Jimmy had three, ’01, 03, and ’04 in either WISSOTA or Open Modified, Brandon currently has four, ’10 in a WISSOTA MW Mod and, ’12, ’13, and ’19 in USRA A Mod.  Now 50 years of Davis Family Racing “In Their Words”.


Webpage:  Jim let’s start with you, how did the family get into racing?

Jim:    Friend of mine Tom Waller, and Rich Waller his brother they had a car and I went with them to the pits, to the races one year.  And they were having too much fun so I decided to do it myself.  They helped me build a car.  I had no mechanical ability at all, didn’t know how-to weld.   It was a 56 Chevy.  Lansing was my first race.

Jimmy:  That was the blue car wasn’t it?

Jim:  Ya the 56 Chevy.


Webpage:  You picked up on the Mechanical stuff eventually.

Jim:  I learned quick, because nobody was going to do it for you.  Well, the first motor Tom says, take the motor apart, you know they were helping me, the 56 Chevy had a 283 in it, it was suppose to be a 265.  So I took it apart, I threw all the rods in a box, threw all the rod caps in a box, not putting them back with the same pistons, took the main caps off put em in a box, so basically it should of been thrown away, or at least line bored but we put it back together and it ran for a little bit, it didn’t last long.  Next one of course I knew….and then Tom showed me how to make sure the tolerances were right and put rings in and stuff, glaze the cylinder walls, take the ridge off the top, had to learn to do all that stuff .  Then I taught myself how to weld because I got sick of waiting for Rich to come and weld it for me. 


Webpage:  Your first wins were 1970.

That would be about right ya.  I think I won 3 times that first year.


Webpage:   A Heat, a Semi Feature and your first Feature was in August.

Jim:  When I first started I didn’t have a clue when to turn, when to let up, I was just you know lost, and then gradually picked it up.  I don’t remember who would of even been in that race.  I remember most of the cars I use to race against or some of em anyway.


Webpage:  How many years did you run?

Jim:  I think it was right around ten or eleven years I raced, mostly Lansing, but then I went to a few other tracks on other nights.  Kasson, Mason City, Cresco Iowa, Fairmont.

 Jimmy:  Morristown?

Jim:  Ya I raced a lot at Morristown.   Most of the Fair Races around here, Rochester one year, even St Charles, Kasson Fair, ya all the Fair races, even Faribault one year.   Ran the Street Stock to begin with but only about two years, I was up in the Hobby Stock Class than and ran that most of the time.


Webpage:  Lots of Friendships are made at the Track.

Jim:  Ya I still run into a few of em now and then.  Oh I remember, Wayne Williamson, Mike Guttormson of course, well Tom Waller and his brother Jack, Jack won quite a few races too, Lynn Rysavy.   I don’t go for coffee or anything like that; I quit drinking over ten years ago.    I don’t see any of those guys; you’d be glad to see them and their glad to see you when you do run across each other.  We’ve lost a lot of guys, Willie, Willie Richardson he was a good friend, use to go boating together and different things , here he died this summer, Karl Fenske he was a good friend off and on the track, Mike Guttormson has been gone quite awhile .  Zwiefel’s, Donny and Darrell there both gone, sad to say but it’s happening, now I heard Eaker died.  And you see some of’ em and you remember what they use to be like but time marches on, nobody gets any younger.


Webpage: Jim you get out and watch much now?

Jim:  Ya I don’t miss many; I guess I’ve been missing a few more now with my health.  I don’t know how many I’ll get to this year but usually his Grandma and I get to most of em.


Webpage:  Thoughts on the changes in racing in 50 years.

Jim:  Well it’s gone away from building it yourself and engineering it yourself to everything is bought and paid for now, except for what Brandon has done here.  Now there’s a lot more money in it now.  It use to be they paid you the heat races.   I remember 15 dollars 10 dollars and 5 dollars.  I figured if I got third in a heat race I had enough for gas money for the next night’s races.  (Laughing)  so than whatever I made in the feature was extra.


Webpage: What do you remember about dads early years Jimmy?

Jimmy:  Not really a whole lot, I was pretty young, no I don’t remember a whole lot other than hanging out in the garage when he was working on it.


Webpage: What got you to finally start Jimmy – a bit of a gap between you two?

Jimmy:  I was, well kind of needed something to occupy my time, I was getting into a little bit of trouble, needed something to do, it was my fix.   Hobby stock was the first year, Mike Marx and I.  He drove it at Kasson and I drove it at Lansing.  It was his motor and our car.  It was a Camaro.  Than the first Modified I bought it from Mark (Wytaske), it was, well you had a picture on the Facebook, a white car with kind of like light blue , it was when the Mods were first coming out he built one and we bought that from him.  That was my first Modified.


Webpage:  Jim you work with him a lot when he started?

Jim:  Well I was there, you know the technology had already changed and he was ahead of me on it.  I thought I knew what I was doing, we got into some arguments (Laughing) just like how he’s had to turn it over to Brandon I had to turn it over to him.   .


Webpage:  Who was helping you than Jimmy?

Jimmy    Bob Johnson was always by my side, but you know I just had to go learn it by myself.   Started studying, paying attention.  Ya it had been years so we didn’t know what to do with nothing you know so I had to figure it out on my own.


Web page: Three Track Championships at Chateau. (2001 2003 2004)

Jimmy:  Wouldn’t be that car, that was when we got the Jones car.

Brandon:  You had the one at Deer Creek in ‘97, 2001 would of be the Action car

Jimmy:  Ya the Action car that year

Brandon:    Ran another one in ‘01 and ‘02 than ran the BRE car in ‘03 and ‘04, than you had the Pierce your final year in ’05.


Webpage:  You had some rule changes along the way with WISSOTA and Open.

Jimmy:   Ya, the rear suspension was big, it was just a stock 4 link, pretty lazy, than they started letting us take off the 2 upper bars and put in a Pull Bar and a J Bar, we were just kinda learning and you had to unbolt the third cross member.   For WISSOTA you had to have it in, for IMCA you didn’t have to have it, you could use a pull bar.  Night to night.


Webpage:  How many years did you run jimmy?

Jimmy:  I don’t even know when I started up, I know I was 14.  Cause I was 16 for like two years.  Lied about my age.

Jim:   You were 18 down in Mason City, I heard the track announcer say there’s Jimmy Davis he’s 18 years old for the fourth year. (Laughing)


Webpage: Second generation, but faced a few of the same drivers, Mike Guttormson and Mark Noble.

Jimmy:  Ya and Karl Fenske, Doug Hillson of course, ya Doug raced against all three of us and Mark did too.


Webpage: No gap between you and Brandon than one year to the next.

Jimmy:  When I quit the big car I ended up selling it and getting him a B Mod.  I already had him go cart racing before that so he was always with me.  I’d run Friday night and he’d go, than I’d take him Saturdays and Sundays.  Had the cart in the trailer


Webpage: Brandon how about your early memories of your dad racing?

Brandon:  I didn’t really get into the racing or really start paying a lot of attention until like 2001,   When I was a little guy what always interested me was the mechanical stuff I don’t know why but it always has.  Dad when you ran, cars were really flat and didn’t move around very much, might see ‘em move around a little bit, nothing crazy.  Well than guys like Todd Scharkey and Karlie Kath bought Pierce cars and they were ahead of their time in our area, they moved, they’d roll over, they had all this fancy stuff and it always just amazed me because every time; you seen their cars move they would leave whoever they were by, they would just take off you know.

 Jimmy:  Ya that four link suspension and stuff

Brandon:  Ya that’s when they came out with that stuff, the rear suspension started getting adaptive.


Webpage:  Your interest in the side of racing has grown quite a bit.

Brandon:   It always interested me.  My parents had this old computer in the spare bedroom when we lived in Janesville and it they had a game on there I remember we got when I was a little kid, it was called Dirt Track Racer, it’s an old game and you could change stuff on there and I started watching the cars and how it would change and it got me into the mechanical side of things … than I had these K-Nex and I built like a modified car out of K-Nex and I had a working suspension, 4 link on the back, than I’d cut off the spirals and put springs in it.  So the whole chassis thing has been an interest for a long time.

Jim:   That K-Nex car he had it with him all the time, it would go around a corner and the left rear would raise up


Webpage: Three generations drove totally different types of cars.

Brandon:  I bet I drove the easiest one.


Webpage:  That’s where I was going with this – could either of these two have drove what you drove back in 1970 Jim?

Jim: Well the cars were so different, the geometry and everything.

Brandon:   I imagine your guys cars didn’t turn very good.

Jim:   No, no power steering, the ratio was real slow; you didn’t take your hands off to turn these things but anyway -

Jimmy:  You had like ¼ inch gusset plates in your front.

Brandon:   I bet either one of you guys in your prime could of got out of your cars and hopped into something like I got and go “you got it easy”, more than likely.

Jim:  The last car I had we were just starting to do a little bit of scaling back then and it weighed 3900 pounds and it was one of the lightest cars on the track.  Now they have to make weight at 2400 (Laughs) and there probably running more horse power than we did back then.


Webpage:  You spent time going to junk yards … Brandon probably don’t even know what it means to go to the yard.

Jim:  Ya, I had a 427 motor there towards the end, and I had a 481.   The 427 was a Corvette motor that I really spent a bunch on, 500 dollars bought new from Usem Chevrolet down there, otherwise ya you’d go to the junkyard, buy a block, put new rings and bearings in it.  Sometimes you wouldn’t if you could see how it ran and if it smoked or not


Webpage:  Jimmy how did your transition to Brandon go?

Jimmy:  I was still amongst it … I knew what was going on, it was real simple.  It wasn’t long and he was good enough to go on his own after a couple years of going down there.  He’s learned it himself and now he’s way up above me.  But it was pretty nice, I had just quit and I was familiar with everything and was able to get him started, get him going.


Webpage:  You started as early as the license would allow you Brandon.

Jimmy:  He had a few years in the go cart

Brandon:  Think I got into the go cart in ‘99 or 2000 or so.   We did a lot of backyard stuff, we tried like the IKF sanctioning body stuff it was just boring.   So friends of ours, the Arndt guys, Blake and his dad they got together and made some tracks in their back yard so everybody started going to those because everybody had the same feelings about sanctioning.  We all created our own tracks in our back yards it was actually pretty nice, it was a really fun track, we had a lot of fun with that it was a good time with the go carts.

Jimmy:   It was a lot of fun, the atmosphere was so much better with the parents because it was all for the kids everybody helping.

Brandon:  Now you go to the track and everybody has covers on their cars covering stuff up.


Webpage:  You and Arndt pit together now.

Brandon:  Oh ya we’ve been friends since we were in diapers.

Jim:  I think drivers were friendlier back in my days with each other

Brandon:   There’s still some nice guys but the majority of them are pretty stuck up, I don’t want to say stuck up but there guarded, they just keep to themselves.  Everybody is so close to each other they don’t want to give up any little bit.


Webpage: The money wrapped up in these cars can cause that.

Brandon:   I’m sure that’s a lot of it, I got to chuckle because one side of the pits will be like MB custom row, everybody’s got one and they all cover em up so they can’t see each other’s cars   it’s just comical to me.  That’s what’s kind of nice about having my own deal   I don’t even throw a cover on it   they can come over and look at it all they want, if they see something on my car and they put it on there’s its probably just gonna make em slower, so go ahead and look.  (Laughs)


Webpage:  Brandon you get out of the Go Cart and start with a Midwest Mod, how did that go?

Brandon:  Oh man I remember that first night I was a fricking nervous wreck, it was mad

Jimmy:  Ya did great though, you won your heat.

Brandon:  You’ll enjoy my  story of the first night, I drew the pole for my heat race and we talked about just putting me in the back so I didn’t destroy everybody … well that didn’t happen I stated and somehow I ended up winning n the heat race.  I was pushing all over the place, I was driving it like a Go Cart, it doesn’t go around the corner like a Go Cart, you got to kind of man handle those things and I wasn’t doing that .  Well the way WISSOTA  works that was their first year of point invert stuff, but being it was the first night I had to start on the pole (for the feature), that was another big decision to put me in the back or not.  Well decided not to and I stuffed Bryan Hernandez into  the front stretch wall in front  of the grandstand  not even thinking he was out there -- in tunnel vision mode .  I remember in one and two that night there was a big cushion, you just drove it in there no problem, three and four was all slippery and dry and I was coming in there to hot and was skating around and about spinning out  and all this other stupid stuff.  And with two to go Kenny got beside me and passed me, and now I’m just glued on his back bumper and he ended up beating me you know.  As soon as he took the checkered flag he let off, well I was like two feet behind him and I didn’t,  I  punted him, hit him hard and I saw him go way up and so I dove underneath him, well there was a lapped car at the bottom of turn two  about two feet off the infield or something, I about doored that lapped car and shoved him out of the way and I thought gee I just got the lead back, I had no idea the race was over.  The yellow light came on and I went around the track another two laps until I saw everybody pull off that the race was done (laughing) poor lapped car.


Webpage:  How was the A Mod switch?

Brandon:  I don’t remember what made us make the decision to move up.

Jimmy:  We had won the National Title and it was just ….

Brandon:  And my last year the B Mod class was dying.  When I first stated we had Kenny Wytaske, you had Albert, Chris Adams was still racing, Bryan Hernandez, Jerry Young, the B Mod class was pretty stacked, my last year it had tapered off.  That was probably another reason we did it.  I use to really like racing with Bryan Hernandez back in the day just because he was a no bull kind of guy, you respected him he respected you.  But boy if you were on the track and you saw somebody do something dirty to him it didn’t take but a lap or two and he got em back and then some.  (Laughs)  I got a lot of guys come to mind I don’t like racing against, I’m trying to think of ones I do,   Jason Cummins is usually pretty fun to race with, Shane is always fun to race with, Shane Sabraski .

Jimmy:  We took the same car and upped to A Mod, put the crate engine in and that was a nice smooth transition to, low horse power plus some blade, got 8 inches of blade, it was pretty smooth for him.

Brandon:  in fact the first ever modified heat race I won was a USMTS show, I was pretty happy about that.


Webpage:  This last year you’re a third A Mod Title at Chateau, how do they compare?

Brandon:  This year was probably the most fun.  Mainly the car, it was something I built from scratch.  I had had a car I built previously but Dan Wheeler helped me out a lot on that car.  I kind of took what I learned from that one and started over from scratch.  So it was kind of gratifying last year.


Webpage:  Also USRA National Points Champion…in fact top 12 all ran this area.

Brandon:  Well the guys down south had a bunch of rainouts early in the year  and the end of the summer and we all had the same number of shows, where generally they get a pile more shows, like 20, and it gets hard to make up that ground.  We had a couple of those guys when we went down to Webster for the USRA Nationals, a couple guys from Kansas and Missouri who were up there in National Points.

Jim   We’re kind of spoiled around this area we got the best modified drivers in the nation.  The majority of ‘em are right here.

Jimmy;   They normally get 2 extra months to race verse us around here as they get to start earlier and they get to run longer .

Brandon:   It’s been that way for years; remember back in the early 2000’s when Bob Timm was in his prime, Mike Sorensen, Tim Donlinger, guys like that.  Now their kids are doing the same thing, it’s been that way in this area forever it seems.

Jim:  I think a lot of those tracks down south there might be one or two guys that are fast and they  kill ‘em  whereas around here there’s 10 to12 guys that can beat you if you make the tiniest mistake.  So everybody’s up on their game.

Brandon:  Its different up here there’s guys like Darwyn Karau he gets kind of pretty hard on himself because he doesn’t think he does that good you know.   He does good at Lansing but he’s pretty hard on himself at Deer Creek but I watched him pass Kyle Strickler one night in the Jamboree B main, he’s one of the top guys in the nation in a Modified, at least he’s perceived to be, runs real well in IMCA, he comes up and races with us and Darwyn goes right by him like its nothing. 

Jimmy;  Mark Noble was doing the traveling before it was USMTS , it was USMS I believe it was, United States Modified Series, he said when he’d come back here he said it was by far the toughest area they traveled ,  a lot of tough cookies around here.

Brandon:  Not just our area, you go up north, the Shane Sabraski’s, Dave Cain, Craig Thatcher there’s a lot of good guys up there

Jimmy; I’m talking our sanction USRA what we got around here, but WISSOTA ya they got another list.


Webpage:  USRA vs. WISSOTA vs. IMCA?

Brandon:  I don’t like IMCA because of their tire and there spoiler rule, I like the WISSOTA and USRA rules   At one point  I kinda thought taking the spoilers off because it kind of make the bigger engines obsolete,  they wouldn’t have to have em, but  I’ve got to experience  a small spoiler and I didn’t like it


Webpage:  Some good side by side racing this year at Lansing.

Brandon: We had a couple of em ya, the one night that comes to mind is Stoa (Kevin), the track took rubber and usually a rubber track is one lane follow the leader but for some reason we were good enough for us to get side by side, we were both in the rubber and able to maintain.  That was kind of fun.  That was probably the most fun I’ve had in rubber because usually I don’t enjoy rubber at all, kind of despise it.  But that night for what it was probably the most fun I’ve had on rubber if that makes sense.  It was pretty enjoyable usually you don’t get that, somebody leaves and that’s the way it is.


Webpage:  Jim you guys liked the tacky track in your day.

Jim:  Ya we did back then.

Brandon:  Believe it or not I’m still somewhat like him I still like the tack too.  Especially nights it rained Tuesday Wednesday or Thursday and get a couple inches of rain it usually makes for a better track than what you get from a water truck.


Webpage:  Dry slick seems to be the norm now

Brandon;  Ya you know  the weird part when I was younger when I came up in those go cart days I liked it, but now, I don’t know now that I’m, you want to  call it seasoned or whatever you want to call it I prefer a track that has some moisture on it .  Gives you more options it seems like.  Ya but its changed, it’s always dry slick.  I get it, it’s less fuel cost for the track, diesels not cheap any more.  Takes less time and effort to get it that way. 


Webpage:  Top or bottom?

Brandon: Top side.

Jim: I like the e bottom because everyone else liked the top and you could pass down there.

Jimmy:   Where ever it was fast, you got to go where there not, you can’t drive thru em.


Webpage: Different styles of tracks in our area, any preference?

Brandon:  Honestly I think a lot of guy’s preference is whatever the car is good on, last year my car was better at the banked tracks.  I kind of struggled at Lansing a lot more than at Deer Creek with that car.  I didn’t really change anything to try and get better there  but then again you go to a place like Mississippi Thunder, that place almost has too much banking, we’re like wide open all the way around, it’s just unbelievably fast.  Especially if you have moisture, oh my you don’t lift its just wide open.  And the worst part is its easy, I mean easy easy, like you could probably grab someone from the stands and give them 30 to 40 laps of getting use to things and they could probably get around there holding it wide open, it’s too quick.


Webpage:  You building cars for anyone other than yourself?

Brandon:  I’m doing one for Greg Jensen; talk is Jason Cummins will drive it next season.  But I’m just gonna do it for myself and close friends.  I’m not gonna build a bunch of em, there too time consuming.  I’ll probably get mad at the Jig and take it to the scrap yard if I get too stressed out

Jim:   it will be fun watching him and Jason in identical cars.

Jimmy:   Ya Jason will have a good year


Webpage:  Your pretty good rivals, and he set the new track record for your class this year.

Brandon:  Ya Jason is a good competitor he has a lot of racing spirit   That’s  kind of a difference between me and Jason,  he’s kind of a bull dog driver, he kind of throws it around and horses it around, I’ve never really been that way.  I can kind of do that if I have to but I don’t like it.   I prefer more finesse I guess, that’s just me.

Jimmy:  Usually when you shine too, we kind of always hope for a dry track for Brandon, that’s kind of the way were set up, easy on the throttle and smooth driver 

Jim:  Takes care of his tires.

Brandon:   Get a guy like Jason on the track that’s hammer down with a really good car and he’s gonna be fast there’s no doubt about that he’s got a heavy right foot.


Webpage: Any special races in your careers that come to mind?

Jimmy:  The gopher 50 was a big one for me

Jim:   Ya that was a big one.  He hadn’t won a lot yet and I had a stop watch and they were running hot laps and he was the fastest one.  He came in and I told him that man you’re the fastest one, but he said oh bull.

Jimmy:  No we qualified 16th

Jim:  Ya but this was just in hot laps before qualifications.    So I thought he could probably be competitive you know, because this was back in the day of Mark Noble Ron Jones and ah, Tim Donlinger.   Anyway jimmy started on the pole or was it outside pole.

Jimmy:   No it was pole.

Jim:  Mark Noble was second. Was it 50 laps?

Jimmy:  Could have been 25 or 30.

Jim;  It was up there in Owatonna, Mark would get beside him coming off the corner and Jimmy would beat him, just barely, it was like that the whole race and he ended up winning that one   It was his first big race he won.  And they were all there; track was kind of hard to pass on and tricky but easy to screw up on too.  Give it a little too much and you’re going to go around.  But he ended up winning it that was quite the night


Webpage:  We talked about Mike Guttormson how special was that first Memorial?

Jimmy:    Oh it was huge and then the second one I got, I had his motor in that night, it was pretty cool and then you know to see Brandon win it this year.   (Jimmy:  ‘98 and ’01)


Webpage:  Brandon you got four now.   (Brandon ‘12, ‘13, ‘14, ’19)

Brandon   Those first 3, those were USMTS shows,   I hated that it got turned into a USMTS show, it bothered the crap out of me.  This year I thought it went pretty good, track was way better than I thought it would be, I thought it was the best track they had all year.   The weird part was during the heat race I was thinking this is going to be terrible, but it was awesome at the end of the night.   The thing went what 40 laps and I think it could of gone another 10 or 15 more.


Webpage:  Tires wore out a couple years ago in that one.

Brandon:  That was another USMTS show, Van Der Beek won it, no Lucas Schott won it but Van Der Beek should of won it but had a flat.   That’s the problem when it rubbers up those back tires don’t last long at all.  We had a race there I actually had a flat tire the last lap, the night the sprint cars were there

Jim   I seen a race that rubbered up in Fountain City and the top 6 cars all got flat right rears,  Mark Noble was running 7th , didn’t get a flat tire so he won it .


Webpage:  How about any races that sticks out for you Jim.

Jim:  There’s one for sure up to Morristown.  Morristown had strange rules, we parked in the infield, it was a small track, if you got all four wheels off into the infield you were disqualified   so anyway they had a thousand dollar to win which was really a big race back then.   And so I had a huge lead, I was ahead of Dave Noble and I was pulling him, well Dave had won every race that year, I had a lot of seconds but I could never beat Dave.  Well this night I was leading and it was Don Wytaske, he kind of half spun and stopped with two wheels on the infield which was still on the track so he wouldn’t be penalized.  So he waited for all the cars to come by and he backed out not realizing I had that big lead you know and boom, I went right into him.  Bent my rear end housing, flat right rear tire, finished last, I think there was like two laps left to go.  You know Don didn’t do nothing on purpose, after about 5 minutes I wasn’t mad at him anymore (laughs)

 Brandon: Not as long as I would of took. (Laughing) 

Jim: Well maybe it was a half hour. (More Laughing)

Brandon:  It could take 5 years (More laughing)    I’m reminded of one every September at the Jamboree.  I’ve still never gotten one of those.  Last year I was just a lap shy, but that one in ’15, that was a pretty tough one.

Jimmy:   I remember a night at Kasson Brandon and Alby (Albert Wytaske) started on the front row and they went and slopped the track up before the A main started and Brandon slid off the end of the track.

Brandon:  You’re leaving a lot out.

Jimmy:   Well you go ahead and tell it.

Brandon:   So Kasson that night was really dry and they went out and watered the very top, I’m talking the top 10 feet is all they watered.  We went out there and Alby took off and he was running the very bottom out of the water and he was going pretty good, a pretty good pace you know and we had a yellow.  Alby was fairly known that year for, well they weren’t obvious but he would do a little bit of a jack rabbit start, where he’d slow down just a bit,  it wasn’t much but a little bit and he’d take off.  I was second and I had the outside of course and they had that water laid down.  I had timed this thing perfectly, I laid back about ¾ of a car and by the time he took off I was at his back bumper and so I just flew by him, I’m sure he thought I jumped the start and I came into the corner so hot I got messed up I went off the end of the track, had to go to the back.

 Jim: 24 cars.

Brandon:  I eventually made my way back up to second and I got to Alby and coming into turn three and I got beside him and he just plowed the front stretch wall out of 4, just plowed that thing.  I won.   

Jimmy:  Cautions played in your favor to get you back, but to come back through like that.

Brandon:   It was cool passing that many cars,  you see my first year I had just two wins, and I should of only gotten one, Kenny got a flat coming to the checker one night and I ended up sneaking by him.  And the second year I think I had 8 wins, and my third year I had 32 of ‘em so that was the first year that I kind of found something that worked for me.  This may sound kind of strange but you really don’t know what fast is until you feel it.

Jimmy:   Right

 Brandon:  At the end of my second year I kind of felt what I needed, ok that’s what that feels like and go from there.  

Jim:  There was a night up to Brainerd they had this little Ax Trophy (Paul Bunyon’s Ax). So it had rained all day it was a terrible mud hole and rough, there was a big dirt berm down on the bottom that they had bladed off.  The track was rough and the only place that was decent was just down as tight as you could get to that berm.  So Brandon he was lifting his left front way up, that was the way he had it set up, so he was going around the inside of the track with his left tire above that berm.  Hanging over the top of the berm.  And he ran the whole feature like that and won the feature.  If he would of messed up and let that tire come down he would of spun out, it was pretty impressive to watch.  Did the same thing over to Fountain City one night. 

Brandon:   At Willmar they had tractor tires around the infield and they were about a foot – foot and a half tall at the entrances and I could hang that left front over the tires, every once and awhile could feel the tire bounce over it but I just hung it right over it  (Laughing)

Jimmy: Remember the night you clipped that tire at Willmar?

Brandon:   Ohhhh the year before that we had a Action Car, I hit one of those tire and ripped my left front tire right off.

Jimmy:  He was leading the feature until the yellow come out and then he got black flagged. (Laughing)  Than Laine come down to Deer Creek and bought all our ways in cause that was the first time we’d went up there, he felt bad or whatever, he come down and paid all our ways in.  That was a Thursday night, so that Saturday he come down here wanting to pay our ways in because he wanted us back.


Webpage:  Feature wins is something people like to talk about but back in your day Jim you didn’t see 8 or 9 feature wins at a track during the year by one guy, 3 was about it most years.

Jim.  Well for one thing back than you had the inverted start so if you were the point’s leader you started last which made it a lot harder.  Now chances are if you’re a good runner your gonna be at least in the top 8.  Well if you start 20th or 22nd you know it’s pretty hard to get to number one but from 8th you can, chances are, but that’s just a little part of it.  I think there was more competitors in each class back than there is now.   There was always B Features back than in all the classes almost every night.  But Brandon he has to get better at drawing

Brandon:   Ya I’m terrible, I was gonna have my pit guys look up all my starts and divide them by my shows and see what my average start was.  I think it was worse than 9th.  I think I had one front row start at Lansing last summer. 


Webpage:  The Delaware style restarts are something that’s changed restarts.

Brandon:  Ya and they just recently changed that where 4th place on back, anybody can choose their line; I want to say all the even number cars can pick their line.  I kind of felt bad because two nights I was racing with Jason Hughes and he was suppose to go to the bottom and he went to the top, and I thought you SOB, I thought he was trying to get one on everybody by getting his preferred line,  little did I know they were letting everybody choose their line.   It was a Todd Staley thing, before it was the second place guy got to pick, but there they were letting all the even number cars do it, I don’t like that.  But ya, those nights you start up front and your just gone is kind of nice but it’s fun to kind of work for it a little bit.

Jim:  I remember the one night at Deer Creek Brandon was second, I forget who was leading but Ryan Gustin could not run the bottom than and the track that night you wanted to be on the bottom, but here Brandon every restart picked the top and but Ryan on the bottom.  And I was thinking why is he picking the top but then it dawned on me I came down in the pits afterward and said you knew Gustin couldn’t run the bottom didn’t you, and he said yep ‘cause Brandon would just fly by him because Gustin couldn’t run the bottom.


Webpage:  Any rollovers guys?

Jim:  I never did except in a plowed field.

 Brandon:    I heard that story the other day. 

Jim:   The car was all done, ready to go and the racing season hadn’t started, there was a big beer party out to Bob Reimer’s farm out there by Corning.  So we thought it would be a pretty good idea to bring the race car out there and drive it around in the field out there.  We didn’t quit driving before we quit drinking so we were sliding around and hit a dead furrow and rolled the car over.

Jimmy; Couple times I have, Brandon hasn’t.  One was down in Burlington Iowa and the other was in Jackson. 

Jim:   Ya Jackson was a nasty one. 

Jimmy:  I don’t remember it; it was a wild ride is all I know.

Jim:   It happened right in from of me.  I was sitting on the front straightaway in the infield as you pit in the infield at Jackson.  And brand new car, and this guy hits him and puts him in the wall,  so he had two wheels over the wall , two wheels on the track,   well they had a pit entrance gate, a wooden gate, a break in the wall where you could walk across the track.  Well he hit that opening; of course the car dropped down and just cleaned the whole center right out of the car.  The motor was laying on the track; the fuel cell was laying on the track, than the car just did a series of end over end over end cart wheels.  I got out there, and they had told me not to go out there, but of course I did, but it was just a little bit of the cage was all that was left.  I thought for sure he was hurt.  Than a little fire started I told him to get out of there quick, but the fire went out right away.  It was a nasty one. 


Webpage: Big differences in the cars now safety wise.

Jim:  Oh ya

Jimmy:   Full containment seats, Hans Devices….I’d like Brandon to run one but he doesn’t want to.

Brandon:  I don’t know, you know some of that safety equipment, you get into a bad wreck, let’s say your seat gets shifted a bit and all of a sudden you’re looking for whatever cords you have to pull to get out and you can’t find them, like a fire.  I would take a sore neck over 3rd degree burns any day.  That just scares me. We got a lot, but I think our cars are still not as safe as they need to be.  I don’t know, if I ever get out of racing the one thing I’m going to do is I’m going to try and get some new rules incorporated into the frame, how frames are built, there are certain frames that shouldn’t even be out there.  We got a lot more bars now in our cages that they didn’t have back then.  But granted your tubing was probably a half inch thicker than ours (Laughing)  I think we’re getting al little better about putting a little more tubing in our cars.  Our weakest spot is the top of the roll cage, you ever get a car on its side and a car hits it in the top of the cage there’s three bars above your head is all   it’s a poor design, I mean you can add whatever you want, but poorly regulated

Jim;  Ya you tell a stock car driver his car only has to weight 2300 pound they’ll build it to 2100 pounds and put lead on it , sacrifice safety for speed.

Brandon:  There are some cars that I race against that have 200 plus pounds of lead in them to make weight, they go across the scale having to make 2450 and they come across at 2452 and there like that every night.  I’m not one of those guys, like last year I didn’t have one ounce of lead on it.  It just kind of was what it was. There are guys that get these super light weight cars and put weight on ‘em, problem is they only last half a season and there worn out.  And then if they get breathed on their bent, they don’t last very long


Webpage: A lot more expensive class now, some talk it could become like Late Models, mainly Specials.

Brandon:  Yep think so.  That’s what I liked about my program last year, it kind of happened by chance.  I built that car for a guy and he raced it in WISSOTA , and WISSOTA has a cubic inch limit, 360 is all, so the little 360 I ran all year is kind of seen as a small engine for what most guys run in our area.  But it does just fine; you wouldn’t know it was a little engine.  It’s just one of those things where you don’t need all that, Kevin Stoa built it.  It’s still 13 0000 dollars but it beats spending 20-25 like a lot of guys do, not all but a large majority of ‘em.  B Mod guys are spending 8-9 grand on a B Mod engine and could be in a Modified for not a whole lot more, I don’t know.  Thing that bothers me is you can buy your speed now, you know when you raced (talking to Jim) you had to figure your own stuff out to be quick, where now these guys go to a builder and give them a 30 thousand dollar check and want a car that’s ready to go out there and win all you need is a driver to get around the track


Webpage:  Another Thing you don’t see much anymore, Powder Puffs or Mechanics Races.

Jim:   My wife was gonna drive it one night, she was all strapped in, she didn’t want to but I kind of shamed her into it and the clutch went out so she got out of it and then after that she said” I’m not driving it and you’re not letting anyone else drive it”, so that kind of put the end to that.

Jimmy:   Tammy won a couple of ‘em actually and Bob Johnson he won a mechanics race in one of my cars.  Tammy she let me do it so there was no issues there and Bobby spent countless hours helping me work on the cars so it was just payback, didn’t bother me a bit.

Brandon;  I don’t know,  it would kind of depend,  I know one of my guys doesn’t have the nuts to get in it and do it, the one I’m sure would – I don’t think I’d have a problem with him doing it .  But I’ve let quite a few guys drive my car, different guys, not pit guys.


Webpage:  A Family Tradition for you families.

Jim:  My folks always went or a lot of times they went.  That’ was our recreation in the summertime going to watch him run, Jimmy and now Brandon.  And that’s what we do on weekends. 


Webpage:  Wives come out and around when you working on the cars over the years?

Jim:   No not really.

Brandon:   They kind of leave us to our own space.

Jimmy:   No, just Brandon and I, your mom would never come out and help. (Laughing)


Webpage:  Away from racing what do you guys like to do, or is there such a thing?

Jimmy:   It’s pretty much all I’ve ever known (Laughing) you like wood working and stuff back in the day (to Jim) and camping, canoe.

Brandon; I’ve got probably just as big or bigger passion for diesel stuff as I do race cars.  Diesel performance stuff.  For example something as simple as I’d pick something up and do my own tune up, its fun to tinker with.  Diesels are kind of like today’s muscle cars from back in the day.  Back in your guys’  day you would get a  car put a fancy carburetor on it, some headers , maybe a cam or something , make it pretty special.  With diesel, for now anyway, until the government regulates it too much that you can’t do it, but for right now a diesel mechanic can be like muscle cars.


Webpage:  Looking ahead Brandon what do you see for your racing career?

Brandon:    I don’t know, um , we got a little girl coming here *, I don’t think I’ll be racing as much next season  as we did last season so I’m not sure .  Having the baby on the way last summer I ran more than I could have but I’m not sure what the future is  I don’t know, I would kind of like to get the record for total wins at Deer Creek away from Brauer  that’s been in my cross hairs.

Jim:   I think you passed him didn’t you, somebody told me that.

Brandon:   Than I need to get a cushion.  (Laughing)

 ( *** We visited shortly before Brandon and his wife Brittany became parents.  Raegyn LaVonne Davis was born at 3:50am on December 21st weighing in at 7 lb 8 oz, 19 ½ inches.  )


Webpage:  Any interest in Late Models or Asphalt ideas?

Brandon:   No, but a Late Model would be fun, but there a lot more expensive than a Modified is.


Webpage: Ready for next year already?

Brandon: No its just sitting like it came off the track.  I’ve been working on the car for Jason Cummins, setting on the jig in my garage.  The car is sitting right beside it,  kind of a gigantic table for me right now it’s pretty much good to go, got to do some winterizing to it maybe put a new body on it


Webpage: Any final thoughts on this thing we call dirt track racing?

Jim;   I just wonder what the future is going to be, where it’s going to go.  Wish you could get some of the money out of it.  I know the promoters can’t afford to pay much more but when you’re spending 350 a night on tires to win 600 not many can afford to do it.  I was always pretty lucky I had good sponsors, but you know, the best one was a gas station, you know, pay your fuel, than I had tire sponsor, bought all my tires, than I had one in Mason City gave me a hundred bucks each time I came to Mason City, it was a lot of money back then, but I’m sure Brandon wouldn’t put the name on the car for what my best sponsors did back then.  It’s too bad the moneys got into it, the way it is.  I’m sure there’s some guy, some farm kid that would make just the best driver ever and he’ll never get to race because he can’t afford to, or some Street Stock driver who could be as good as anybody but can’t come up with the 30 or 40 grand .

Brandon:   Mods have changed from what they started out being.  The one thing about it is that if you play your cards right you don’t need to have all that stuff.  The worst part is the frame is kind of a necessity.  A lot of stuff can be reused; you don’t need new stuff every year.  You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on bearings, you can buy cheaper ones.  There’s ways to cut corners, certain guys don’t do it, and they think they need all the expensive stuff.

Jimmy:  The big thing with the B Mods is having a good stout motor.

Brandon:   There are ways around it, some guys they have it so they spend it, problem is it makes the little guys think they can’t keep up without spending it too.

Jim:  I had a lot of fun building the cars.  I built my cars and I built a few other cars, and thinking about it, sitting out in the garage and having a beer and thinking to do this, or engineering or whatever, different things you hear about what somebody’s doing and you try to figure out how to make that work.  Which I think Brandon doesn’t miss out on like I think a lot of these guys do because they don’t even know how their own car works.  You know if this isn’t working they take it to their builder and they scale it for you,  I think they miss a lot of the fun that way, at least it would have been for me .

Brandon:   I think I have a lot of the same philosophy on it as he does, cause that’s what I enjoy, it’s kind of like a chess game, cause were all pretty good drivers, were all capable , what were driving  makes a big difference now days anyways.  (To Jim) back in your day when you raced drivers would make it work.

Jim :  I wonder what’s going to change with these electric  cars   Tony Klapperich, he goes to the races you know, he just bought a Tesla,   it’ll go from 0 to 60 in three seconds …electric car, all electric  wonder what the future on that is, I wonder if that isn’t the future. I just wonder if they’ll ever get to an electric class.

Jimmy;   I wouldn’t change a thing it was a lot of fun.  Enjoyed my time, met a lot of good people and wouldn’t change a thing, good family, racing family.