For second generation driver Travis Fisher, hard work has paid off in his 10 years at the local level. His first track championship came in 2007 at Mountain Speedway (now Evergreen Raceway Park) near Hazleton, Pennsylvania in the 4-Cylinder division, the same track in which his father Larry holds the all-time record in wins since 1988 in the Late Model division. Travis has since worked his way into the Late Model ranks, claiming the championship at Shangri-La II Motor Speedway in Tioga Center, New York in 2010. Now he looks to race for wins and hopes to branch out a little more.
The Fern Glen, Pennsylvania 25-year-old will be starting off the season at Evergreen Raceway Park for their weekly Late Model shows before travelling to CNB Bank Raceway Park in Clearfield starting in May for the first of four 75-lap races in 2014.
“We are going to start with our old motor for the first few weeks, and then put a fresh piece under the hood at Clearfield,” said Fisher. “We are putting our eggs in the Clearfield basket.”
Fisher competed twice at the 5/8 mile facility in 2013 and was one of the cars to beat. He claimed the pole and ran up front before running into mechanical problems during the second half of the August race, and in September picked up where he left off before motor problems sidelined them in practice forcing them to pack up early. Surprisingly to some, it wasn’t much of an adjustment going from the smaller 1/3 mile track they’re used to racing at to the bigger track.
“We didn’t have to make many changes for Clearfield,” said Fisher. “We were close right off the trailer.”
Now with the new built motor on its way, they have also prepared by making some updates to their body going into 2014. Their chassis comes from Dillon Race Cars, which might be familiar to long time fans of Late Model racing.
The Dillon family from Indiana was widely known for their success with Mark Martin in the late 1970s and early 1980s at the ASA level, but also worked on and built cars for a list of competitors that is hard to be matched. Founder Ray Dillon developed many different innovative parts that are still in racing today. Now his son Troy builds new cars from chassis to race ready.
How did Fisher from Pennsylvania get connected with Dillon in Indiana?
“I got introduced to Troy when he was with Port City,” explained Fisher. “It came time after 2010 when we won the championship with a stock clip where our sights were set to go for a new chassis. Troy was the only guy willing to work with me financially. Brad Smales, my crew chief, ran a Dillon car years ago at Jennerstown. It’s been a good piece.”
Although they are several hours apart, communication with Dillon has been a good experience as well.
“We go back and forth with the setup. He’s not afraid to go outside the box,” Fisher added.
Another connection to the past that Fisher enjoys is with his crew chief. Smales competed in Modifieds and the NASCAR K&N Pro East Series back in its infancy up north before dominating in the Pro Stock division at Jennerstown Speedway during the 1992 season. He has since been seen everywhere from Late Model to ARCA to NASCAR Camping World Truck Series garages in overseeing positions.
As strong as the group is at the regional level, Fisher says that there are no immediate plans of racing much further away from where they are now.
“We would like to run something like the New Smyrna World Series, but the cost to run the whole week not including the additional cost to run the regular season is hard to do for a family operation. We could take a year off in order to do that, but what athlete takes a year off to run their Super Bowl?”
What Fisher and team would like to do is travel a couple times a month if they can find tracks within a reasonable vicinity of their hometown that will work with them on rules. Based on what has been seen in recent years Fisher, his car, and crew will be a force to reckon with at any short track he shows up at despite their underfunded status.