WASHINGTON — At the potentially tender age of 20, Zach Taylor has an interesting choice to make.
The Washington resident could choose a career in CNC machining. He presently works at Loughmiller Machine in Loogootee while being a student at Vincennes University.
At the same time, Zach is in the process of becoming a pretty good dirt track racer in the 600cc micro-sprint class of winged and non-winged class cars.
The first offers potential stability for a young man who can not only use a computer for the job, but is pretty good using just his hands in what is becoming a lost art.
The second comes with a driving career that started as a six-year-old in Indianapolis. There’s something addicting about entering high banked dirt curves that has proven to be appealing.
“CNC is something that I love and understand very well,” Taylor said. “I could see a good future in that. Career wise, I want to stay realistic in case I don’t continue racing, but if I would have the opportunity, I wouldn’t mind doing some more racing. What I would really like is World of Outlaw sprint or late models. That would bring the most joy because you are on dirt. I like the feeling of throwing the car into the corner. I wouldn’t mind racing on asphalt in trucks or cars, but right now I would really enjoy the World of Outlaw competition.” The micro-sprint cars use motors from a variety of motorcycle engines.
The cars are just a bit smaller than a midget, yet develop around 125 horsepower in a car that weighs 750 pounds. The cars race on methanol fuel, somewhat similar to what Indy cars use.
“They develop unbelievable horsepower,” Taylor said. “Depending on the track, I usually average 85 miles per hour into corners of one-eight mile tracks. We usually turn laps around nine seconds. On asphalt they can reach 140 on quarter-mile tracks. That’s pretty quick.” Taylor and his team receive help with his car from Jones Engineering and Boyd and Sons LLC in Washington, as well as Tim Engler from Princeton. Jones and Engler assist with engine work while Boyd helps by supplying lubrication products and sponsorship.