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Doan drags himself into challenge Rebuilt Dodge is his ticket to ride


It is not surprising that David Doan Jr.'s life revolves around drag racing.

Two of his uncles -- Glen and Lee Davis -- are top competitors in the dragster division, and Doan's father has worked on cars for years. And Doan's Westminster neighbors are Chuck and Laurie Taylor, long-time competitors in the sport of drag racing.

With an environment like this, there is no need to ask how Doan got started in drag racing. It has been his life, one that he has

thoroughly enjoyed.

"I can't imagine not being around cars," said the polite 20-year-old. "Every second I get, I fool with cars. It must have been born in me or something."

In the past, Doan has raced whenever he had time. He was either busy helping others or restoring a car to race.

Now, after six years of hard work, Doan has his 1970 Dodge Challenger complete.

The car feels special to Doan. It should, he and his father have rebuilt it from the ground up, looking forward to the time that he could race it.

"We found the car in Mount Airy sitting with a blown engine," said Doan. "Restoring the car has been a long and expensive process. We installed a new motor, transmission, rebuilt the body; basically, the whole car was redone."

In addition to six years of labor, Doan estimates he has invested more than $8,000 in his restoration project. But it has been worth it, especially now that he is on the track with it. Two weeks ago, Doan was proudly driving his showpiece at MOPAR Day at the Mason-Dixon Dragway in Hagerstown.

Now Doan will have time to race every week. He plans on running for points in Class I at the 75-80 Dragway in Monrovia, Frederick County.

Doan's new car can do the quarter-mile in the 11-second range, at about 120 mph.

While Doan and his father were restoring the car, Doan raced with a 1972 Challenger, which was also everyday transportation. He sold the car last May to get the money he needed to finish the restoration.

Doan feels he still has a lot to learn.

"I want to get the hang of things," he said. "I need to get my car running more consistent and to know it better."

The beautiful orange Challenger looks like it did when it was driven off the showroom floor. But now, it is powered by a Dodge 440-cubic-inch engine instead of the original 340.

Doan and his father did all the work on the car. The machine work on the engine was done by Burtonsville Machine Shop in Montgomery County and Doan assembled it.

When he has problems, he often calls his neighbor, Chuck Taylor for help.

"Chuck has helped me a lot," said Doan. "Any time I have a problem I know I can call him." The Taylors have a reputation of helping others and are an asset to the sport.

Doan has been looking forward to this year so much that he hasn't made any future drag racing plans.

"I like to go fast," he said when asked about the future. "Maybe some day I would like to drive a dragster like my uncles, but I am always going to keep my Challenger."

If Doan isn't helping his friends, they are helping him. But what they like the best is to race against one another.

He especially likes to race against Jeff Davis, his cousin. Davis runs a 1970 Dodge Dart.

"We are good friends, but beating him is what I like the most," said Doan.

A graduate of Westminster High, Doan works for Ryland Homes during the week. The rest of the time he is working on cars.

David Doan Sr. has been working on cars ever since his son can remember, but the elder Doan has never had the desire to drive.

"I always begged him to drive," said the younger Doan. "But he's not interested in driving, just working on them."

The father-son team has built a beautiful car from the ground up. Together, they should become one of the top MOPAR teams at 75-80.

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