Day Motor Sports Driver Profile: Cory Davis catching on quickly in Late Models

SEMINOLE, Texas — Within our world of short track racing dwells a rare breed of driver; men who can wheel almost any type of car and still find success. Guys who adapt quickly, squeeze the most out of every machine and put them directly into Victory Lane. It’s an almost innate ability few men possess. 

One fine example of that amazing versatility is West Texas Modified ace Cory Davis. After acquiring a Late Model, the 38-year-old swept the American Crate Late Model Series (ACLMS) opening weekend at Hunt County Raceway and Grayson County Speedway. This man does, it seems, catch on quickly. 

“It’s always been a dream of mine to be in a Late Model,” he said. “We actually traded one of our Modifieds for it last year. We were real busy with my son’s baseball last year, I didn’t even get time to pull it out. I’ve always wanted one, so this year we dug it out and have been trying to make a go of it.

“The first night I ran it was out in Vado, New Mexico. We went down there with year-and-a-half old tires, the ones that came on the car. We caught the leader but ran out of laps to get by him and finished second. Hunt County this Spring was my second night in the car, and we took it to Victory Lane.” 

Now in his 18th year of racing, Davis has paid his dues. He’s quite good at leveraging opportunities. 

“I’m actually from Charlotte, North Carolina, originally,” he explained. “My background is in NASCAR, where I worked my way up from sweeping shop floors at the age of 16 to the position of Car Chief. I learned the amount of hard work and dedication it takes to succeed in racing right away. 

“We’ve chased National points before, and have come close to winning a championship. We raced IMCA Stock Cars a lot, and were very fast in those. We had incredible success wherever we went. I was looking for something more technically challenging setup wise.” 

There’s always a point in every racer’s career he makes a move that fits, one that suits his driving style. 

“We traded one of my Stock Cars for a Modified, and we won the first night out and continued to win on a regular basis. At that point, I figured maybe this was where it was at, where I belonged. I love to tinker, and love the technical aspect of racing. So the Modified and Late Model are both great fits. 

“I was almost going to be an engineer; I love to figure out new things. Most everybody stays in their box; but I think so far out of the box it’s unreal. I love to experiment, to do kind of my own research and development work. All that comes from my NASCAR days, but that knowledge has paid off.” 

Modified racing is super tough, but Davis is now learning how competitive these Late Models can be.

“The American Crate Late Model Series is loaded with talent,” he said. “I was amazed when I ran Hunt County and Grayson County just how many top-notch teams run that tour. I’ll be honest, I don’t feel my program is where it needs to be to run with those guys on a regular basis. 

“We unloaded at Hunt County and went out for Hot Laps, and I came back in and told my guys we were complete junk. They came over and told me I’d just set overall Quick Time, and I was shocked. I am still lacking forward drive; the only way I can put it is the speed is there, but good traction is not.”   

So, the man goes out and sweeps a weekend of sanctioned Late Model racing in a car he says is off. 

When Davis puts on his safety suit and gets ready to race, he climbs into a machine of unknown age. 

“I can tell you for sure it’s a MB Customs chassis, I’m just not exactly sure what year it was built,” Davis said. “It doesn’t have a serial number, but the guys at MB think it’s a 2008. I have a friend with a 2019 model, and it looks a lot more like his, so I’m thinking it’s more like a 2018 chassis. 

“Either way, it’s a great piece and this GM Crate 604 pushes it along pretty well. I’m always searching for more speed, more drive off the corners and better handling overall. We’ll continue to tweak on it, because the guys I beat on opening weekend will step it up for the next one. We’ve still got work to do.” 

Along with his years of experience and top-notch race car, Davis has some great support in his corner.

“I need to thank several people for all they do, including my wife, Ashley Davis; son Chayse Davis; my Dad, Brent Davis; Larry Lowery, Colin Deming and Corey Parks. I appreciate all they do for me. 

“I also want to thank our sponsors who’ve been with me for a number of years, including Pressure Services, Cardinal Hardware, Hydostatic Pipe & Services; Edge Safety, Wehr’s Machine and Pro Glow Cleaning Solutions. We couldn’t do this without their valued support.” 

With summer upon us and plenty of races just ahead, Davis knows what he wants to accomplish. 

“The first task will be to get me comfortable in the Late Model,” he concluded. “I’m just not right now, so before we go much further we’ll need to address that. When I say we’ve got work to do after those two wins, we just got lucky and caught them sleeping. And I don’t mean to sound arrogant at all.  

“If we can gain some speed with the car, I may take it to Boone (Iowa) for the Super Nationals. I’ve got to be up there for a $100,000-to-win Stock Car race, so I thought about taking it up there. If things keep going well with the Crate program, we may possibly try to run some open-motor stuff down the road.”  

By Phil Whipple, Staff Writer
Photo by Rebecca Dean/LAD Photography