The Devilbiss name has been a part of local auto racing since the '60s. Brothers Slim, Butch and Doug were standout drivers and car owners setting many records along the way. Now Ryan, a second-generation Devilbiss, is ready to carry on the family tradition.
Ever since he could remember, Ryan always wanted to drive a race car. For years he went to the races to watch his father, Doug, and his uncles race. As soon as he was old enough, he helped on his father's car. Anxious to get behind the wheel, his father had him wait until he was 16. Last year the Westminster High School senior fulfilled a dream when he made his driving debut in the backup car of Mark Shorb of Westminster.
The two drivers formed a team with Ryan's father building the motors. Midway through the season, Shorb, who was in the midst of a hot point battle, sold his car and had to use the backup car that Ryan was driving. While Ryan didn't drive too much last year, it was enough to get him hooked.
Being around racing all of his life, Ryan thought it would be easy. But like every other beginner, it didn't take long for him to realize there is much more to racing than driving around the track. Fortunately for Ryan, he had his dad as part of his crew and it wasn't long before he was running at the front of the field.
"I thought it would be a lot easier than it was," said Ryan. "It is a lot more involved than it looks. My dad has helped me a lot. He tells me where I should run on the track and where I should be in the corners, how to go in and how to come out. I found that I can race better at the top of the track to keep my momentum going since I have a smaller motor than the rest of the cars."
Small motor or not, Devilbiss has been a fast learner. He has listened to his father, watched the other cars and learned from the mistakes he has made.
After high school, Devilbiss plans to work for his father and major sponsor, Doug's Garage in Westminster.
Ryan hopes to move up to late models, the division his father raced, after another year or two in the thundercars. He has been going to Winchester (Va.) Speedway with Ernie and Rick Jones of Westminster, helping on their crew and learning as much as he can as he gets ready for the next step in his racing career.
Action from last weekend: Ben Snouffer of Mount Airy won Class I at 75-80 Dragway. Chuck Taylor of Westminster and Sev Tingle of Mount Airy each went four rounds. Class II was won by Chris Hruska of Mount Airy. Sam Battaglia of Taneytown went four rounds. In motorcycles, Tim Lippy of New Windsor was runner-up. Mike Ford of Westminster went three rounds in the Jr. Dragster. In the Pro-Stick Class, Jon Miller of Woodbine was a semifinalist. Galen Baer of Westminster won the all-Ford modified class. At Mason-Dixon Dragway, David Tyler of Sykesville went to the semifinals in Class I. David Smith of MountAiry was runner-up in the Jr. Dragsters.
In oval track racing, Cris Eash of Woodbine was sixth in the super sprint feature at Williams Grove. Eash finished second the following night at Lincoln Speedway.
Judd Shepard of Finksburg scored his first win in the Armaclad Sprints.
Shepard was seriously hurt at the speedway about five years ago and many thought he would never race again. Shepard took the lead on the sixth lap when the leader made contact with another car and dominated the rest of the race for the win.
Mickey Zechman of Westminster was fifth in the thundercar feature. Ernie Jones of Westminster finished seventh in the late model feature at Winchester Speedway. Brad McClelland won his second straight micro-sprint feature at Trail-Way Speedway. Steve Owings of Westminster was sixth. Matt Barnes of Westminster returned after a brief absence to win the 4-cylinder feature. Brother Steve Barnes was sixth.
Mark Royston of Hampstead was runner-up in the outlaw quads, Mickey Zechman was fourth in the 8-cylinder stocks and Gary Warehime of Westminster was eighth and Nick Scholtes of Westminster was 10th. Steve Pollard of Westminster was fifth in the street stock division and Jason Smith of Westminster was sixth. In the Conococheague 100 at Hagerstown Speedway, Gary Stuhler of Westminster was sixth and was third in the Johnny Roberts Memorial. Mike Walls of Taneytown won his fourth 4-cylinder feature.
Pub Date: 8/04/96