Off their records, drivers Dick Boswell of Cheverly and Joe Michals Jr. of Baltimore should have skipped the $90,000 Permatex 300-miler at Daytona Speedway Feb. 19. Both are typical weekend racers in the late-model sportsmen sedan division - short on funds, long on desire and courage, enjoying modest success.
Last season, Boswell wrecked his own racer twice and managed to rebuild it with considerable help from friends. He was making his first visit to the high-banked, 2.5-mile Daytona track to drive a borrowed Ford sponsored by a Richmond bumper shop.
"This car has never made the show before," said Boswell. "It's not running fast enough for me to be bothered by the track." With that, he qualified 26th out of 40 starters at 169.6 miles per hour, more than twice as fast as he has ever raced at a local track.
Driving steadily and staying out of trouble, he finished 13th in the race, which may be his last of the season.
"Racing is just too expensive for me now," he said. "I can get a car built for me, but I need help to run it. I've been racing five years, but this may be it."
Michals had a similar but lesser problem - "I just can't afford to race every week any more."
Michals hardly raced at all last season while building his own Chevrolet for super-speedway races. They are longer than weekly features, but pay much better.
Running on old tires at Daytona, he qualified 15th and finished 20th. He went out with oil pressure problems but earned $1,350. "It took me $3,000 to get here," he said, but in motor-racing economics, he almost broke even.
Jack Bland, the most promising local driver, failed to finish the race for the third year. The Riverdate entry lasted only 72.5 miles before stopping with engine trouble.