As you might expect, at age 78, McDavitt did not just start drag racing; he started in 1954 at age 16, at his home track, Pomona (Calif.) Raceway. At the time Pomona was a weekly Sunday drag strip that served the area to keep restless youngsters 'off the street'. Don continued in Southern California racing through the Fuel Altered wars of the '60s and early '70s. Like a lot of racers, Don took some time off from the grind several years ago. When they built Las Vegas Motor Speedway around the year 2000, he really rekindled his 'fire' and started racing again. His appearance at LVMS' Bracket Program on June 25th was his 12th this 2015 season along with all PSCA events.

PSCA Chris Alston Spring Shoot Out 2015: A couple of early pioneers of drag racing enjoyed the tales from Lake Havasu's 'gear head' legend, Don McDavitt. R to L: Bob Anderson, a 1970 original Pro Stock racer; Steve Keown, runner up in B/Gas at the NHRA Winternationals, who then plugged up the headers and drove the car home; and Don.

PSCA Chris Alston Spring Shoot Out 2015: The Chevrolet motor in Don's Chevelle is a surprise. Yes, the cubes are big, but not huge by today's standards at 540 inches. The heads are based on standard ZL-1 format and it does not use the off-set rocker arms a la today's Pro Stock motors. The solid 9.60 elapsed time, 135 mph screamer breathes through a single four barrel 1050 cfm Quick Fuel carb.

Everything Don has done with the power train in his brightly painted racer is aimed at consistency. Operating the engine and drive train in moderation, Don's Chevelle will just repeat round times wherever he goes. That and his uncanny driving ability make the combination a winner nearly every time out.
The motor is hooked to a Power Glide transmission with a 6,000 rpm stall converter. And just as with the chassis, McDavitt and friends performed their own magic on the transmission. Don shifts gears manually. The power is then fed to a 9-inch Ford rear axle that usually sports a 4:56 gear ratio.