Oyster Bed Speedway Surf & Turf ‘From the Stands to the Stocks’
How a simple comment as a fan lead to a 20-year Hall of Fame racing career for Dave Gorveatt.
Those who sit in the stands at any stock car track anywhere have all made comments about drivers they like and dislike.
It’s what fans do.
For Dave Gorveatt, a simple comment from the stands about an aggressive competitor on the track turned into a 20-year Hall of Fame racing career.
In the summer of 1985 Gorveatt and friend Marv Dyer would, on many nights, head out to the then named Raceway Park to cheer on their favorite drivers and boo the drivers they didn’t like so much.
He recalls one particular night when Street Stock driver Wendall Taylor, who he describes as a driver who would do whatever it took to get a top-three finish, was especially rough.
Gorveatt turned to his pal, Dyer, and, off the cuff, quipped, “If I was out on that track, I would drive that Taylor fella so far into the woods you’d never find him.”
Dyer turned, looked at his friend and said something that would change Gorveatt’s future.
“Well, why don’t we build a car?”
One never to back down from any kind of a challenge, he confirmed what Dyer set in motion.
“Well, I guess we will build one this winter.”
Gorveatt couldn’t recall where they found the Dodge Cordoba body and frame, but the acquisition of the engine and transmission sounds like something out of CW McCall’s old song, “Classified.”
Telling the story between laughs, he regaled the tale.
“Well a ways down in Covehead there was an old body shop and the owner sent us back down into the woods and through a clearing. Underneath a tree sitting, on the outgrown roots with weeds and grass growing up around it was an engine and transmission. Someone had pulled it out of a car and left it there.”
Over the winter the pair, both with no experience racing a stock car let alone building one, would piece together their first of five race cars together out of whatever they could find and scrounge on a budget that would only equate to a few fill ups at the pumps today.
On that first night at Oyster Bed, the track announcer of the day, Ken Packham, joked about how much the car bounced around that opening night.
“Well, of course, it was bouncing around out there. There wasn’t enough spring or shock in it,” recalled Gorveatt about his inaugural race.
“We had never set up a race car before. We didn’t have any idea.”
Being rookies in the division with no prior experience they would be forced to start at the back of the pack, in a car that probably had no business being on the track in the first place.
“Somehow, we won a race with it the first night out. We had to start at the back and if you remember, back on some nights, there would be near 40 Street Stocks out,” Gorveatt reminisced.
“We didn’t know a thing. We just got in it and wheeled it.”
The pair would go on to claim the points’ championship that year, sharing the driving duties.
Gorveatt would drive the opening race to qualify the car and race the feature, with Dyer racing the semi.
Over the next few years at Oyster Bed, they would never finish worse than second in points, including a second Street Stock Championship and a Local Modified Championship.
In that same year, at the Modified Championship, the team would finish second in the points at East River with the same car.
In those days, Oyster Bed ran on Saturday nights and East River ran on Wednesday nights.
All five cars that the team would race would also be built by the team, from scratch and from the ground up. One of those cars — a 1973 Dodge Charger — Gorveatt sold to Alan Vincent, who bought it for his son and current Pro Stock Driver, Kent Vincent, to drive as his first stock car.
Part 2 of the interview will look at the transition into MASCAR for Gorveatt and Dyer, and what lead to the formation of that ’97 championship team lead by Gorveatt and crew chief Tom Scully.
Written By Oyster Bed Speedway Track Announcer Jeremy MacDonald