Racing is like a marriage; you have your good days, your bad days and your great days, you go through ups and downs, peaks and valleys, and when it’s all said and done, it’s usually a rewarding experience.
Cynthia Davis Racing at the Tulsa Raceway Park
This describes the husband and wife drag racing team of Billy Davis and Cynthia Davis and the 2013 season they’ve had so far. Billy runs a Top Alcohol Funny Car, while Cynthia races in the Top Dragster class, and while neither have found victory lane this season, they both have overcome obstacles that have them setup for a big finish.
"The season started out really rough," Billy said. "We didn’t qualify the first few times out. We have a new crew on the funny car, which takes time to come together, and we are still working on that but see progress. Our first few races we had a transmission issue. The car wouldn’t shift into high gear."
Billy Davis Burning Out at the Tulsa Raceway Park
Cynthia also had her struggles early on.
"We were not prepared for what it would take to qualify at some of the races," she said. "We didn’t qualify at Tulsa [Raceway Park] because of a nitrous solenoid failure, so we went to Tulsa Raceway Park to test and still couldn’t get (the car) to run the number needed to qualify."
Both cars missing the cut at the Heartland Park of Topeka was especially painful to the Davis family. "That was the worst disappointment, not qualifying in my hometown," Billy said.
The testing in Tulsa Raceway Park paid off for Billy, who was able to get his transmission woes sorted out. In the next race at the Tri State Raceway in Earleville, Billy Davis qualified second and nearly won the race.
"That was a great moment," Cynthia said. "Seeing Billy’s face after making that great pass at the Tri State Raceway in Earleville. He is such a great driver and I know that with the right car, he will be a champion."
Cynthia has a reason to be optimistic now, too. The team put a new motor in her Top Dragster, one that should make qualifying less of a concern. She also has a brand new Joe Mondon dragster being built for next season, as well as a new F3 ProCharger that will go on the new car.
But right now, the goal is to get back in the field and go rounds. "I have confidence we will get there at the Texas Motorplex in Dallas," she said.
Cynthia Davis Racing Down the Track in Her Top Alcohol Dragster
Billy is also looking forward to the Texas Motorplex in Dallas, a National Event, where he thinks round wins and a trophy could be in order. More importantly, a strong showing could get him Billy back in the top 10 in divisional points, a place he has finished in each of the last two seasons. Given the way his season started, that would certainly be a win for him.
"I know I can do it again, even with that late start for us," he said. "Up until Earleville, we were right there with the other cars until the shift point. Now that we have that fixed, I believe we have a chance to win."
Racing together is a passion the Davis’ love. Billy started racing just after he and Cynthia got married, and when Billy decided it was time to step up into faster classes, bad timing led to a great opportunity for Cynthia to jump behind the wheel.
"In 2006 (Billy) started building the dragster I am driving now and when it was complete, he tried selling his 2001 Undercover Dragster," Cynthia said. "After not having any luck selling it, I decided I would try it out and I loved it.
Billy Davis Racing Down the Drag Strip in His Top Alcohol Funny Car
"I especially loved the burnout. I will never forget the first time in the car and the John Force burnout I did, and then the tunnel vision at launch. I was hooked."
Neither worries about the inherent dangers of racing.
"(Billy) has even tested the safety equipment a few times, without my approval of course," Cynthia said. "But really, I honestly do get that nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach every time I strap Billy into the funny car. I can’t explain why that is, but I have to think it’s anxiety and just hoping so much that it is going to be a good pass."
Billy echoed Cynthia’s thoughts.
"I think it’s easier to see your wife race as a fellow racer who has been in a car for years and even been on fire more than once, yet have never been hurt," he said. "We have so many safety factors now that we don’t have to think about much other than getting the car down the track and winning rounds."
Billy Davis and Cynthia Davis have used K&N Filters on their racecars for years, but recently made the switch to K&N’s heavy-duty reusable air filters.
"I have to say, we were not using K&N on our rig before, but after making the change we saw big fuel mileage improvement as well as performance improvements," Billy said. "We will never use anything else now.
"On the funny car, we use the clutch filter which is really nice because not only do they work great but you can also reuse them. We’ve also found that using K&N on the dragsters help because they don’t restrict airflow like your standard filter, but also the rings last longer because K&N’s filter actually filters the air going into the motor."