Who? Mike Davis!
There is one name that has been brought up many times on the internet this year. Message boards all across the web have racing fans that do not frequent PPMS asking one question: "Who is Mike Davis"?
Mother Nature ruined any chances of Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway continuing it's sucessful run of good weather and racing, but the downpour provided me with an opportunity to sit down with argueably the most talked about late model team at the monster half mile this year, Mike Davis and the 7M crew.
When I arrived at the trailer accompanied by the head of the company who designed Mike's car, Bryan Horvath, the crew was discussing the weather while Mike chatted with other drivers away from the scene. The crew spun many tails that I had been previously unfamiliar with about their start in racing, including some completely outlandish stories, some of which entailed broken trophies, fights with tow trucks, lifetime bans and a pushed over pepsi machine.
What most people do not realize, is that the Davis team got their start in a very grassroots manner which developed in the mid/eastern Ohio racing scene; they traveled to tracks such as Muskingum, Cannonball, and St. Clairesville. Prior to that, Michael Davis was a regular on the drag-strip and basically anything else that has wheels, he is still involved in a team that drives Monster Trucks in the winter
However, Mike was challenged to drive dirt by a close friend, and that's how this story begins.
"He told me, 'if you haven't driven on dirt, you haven't driven anything'".
Davis and the crew had a humble beginning, and took their bumps on the way to where they are now. That includes Davis' first ever attempt at driving a dirt late model. He took out the flagstand at Cannonball his first night behind the wheel.
"I still have a picture of the car with four flats", Davis laughed.
But that was five years ago, and after 2 years of running an outlaw-style schedule, Davis has settled down and become one of the top regulars at PPMS. He finds himself second in points to Lou Bradich, a position quite unfamiliar to the driver and crew.
"We decided last year that we were going to run for the championship", said Davis. "We've been high in the points standings at other tracks, but this is the first time we've decided to stay somewhere and try to win it".
This year, the crew sports new merchandise, a new hauler, and a beautiful 2006 Rocket chassis. They also have chosen to take a different route and run an open motor, as opposed to running the controversial PPMS Spec motor. Despite that, Davis finds himself on the heels of a possible first-ever points title; a position that up until recently had the crew thinking differently.Davis has visited Victory Lane three times this year.
The added pressure of running for a title had the crew chasing the car a bit in the past few weeks.
"I think we got scared by the points race", said Davis, "we recently found a problem with the car and now we're just back to running the way we were earlier in the year".
Three feature wins this year, constant showings in the top five, and a driving style that is smooth yet agressive, Davis has heads turned towards the Rocket 7M, but plans could become bigger for the crew as the year comes to a close.
Davis acknowledged that he does, in fact, have a new Rocket in the works, on that he hopes to take out on the road.
"We should be getting it back this week".Davis' smooth yet agressive driving style has him pegged as a fan favorite at PPMS.
"We're gonna try to get out to some big races in the fall".
Having a second car gives the 7M crew the opportunity to run wherever they would like. So, if you're watching racing in Western PA, keep an eye out for the BSD Decals, Rosewood Manor, Quick Time Performance Parts, Malcuit Engines #7M Rocket Chassis.
He might be coming to a track near you.Images courtesy of Racing Web.