It all started innocently enough when Ed and Al Goss decided to drive out to the paved track in Carson City and watch their neighbor race his car. Little did the brothers know that 10 years later they would be driving on the track at Champion Speedway right along with Chet Danburg, not only as Quicksilver Racing teammates but as close friends having the time of their lives.
"That's what I preach," Danburg said. "I mean, that's the only reason you go out there and that's to have fun."
There's been lots of fun and lots of successes. Danburg has won four points championships in his 14 years racing at Champion, Al Goss has won two, and they're currently running 1-2-3 in the Late Model Sportsman 2004 class points.
The roots of the Quicksilver Racing date back to 1991 when Dawson Yeager, Jim Cruz and Danburg raced together and later Rob Iverson.
The present roster includes Kris Keller of Sparks, who was Danburg's crew chief at one time, in addition to the Goss brothers and Danburg, who are neighbors and spend countless hours in their garages working together on their cars during week nights to prepare for Saturday nights at Champion.
Even at age 57 years young and a racing legacy that dates back more than 30 years to South Dakota - Danburg's name can be found on the Dakota State Fair Speedway Wall of Fame, as the 1972 B Late Model winner, on a list that shows champions dating back to 1914 - he has every intention of racing for as long as possible.
"I'll do this as long as it's still fun and I'm still competitive," Danburg said. "And I'm not getting beat up on too bad yet."
Then, motioning toward his teammates, he added, "They've already caught up."
Big Al Goss, 40, simply shook his head.
"He's still taking us to school," Goss said. "We've got a lot of racing to go. We're just starting. We're still rookies in comparison to Chet.
"I'm patient, but man, you've got to try and do everything you can to catch him sleeping because he gets you every time ... every time!" he added. "All I do is pay attention to what he does and then I try to use the same moves in the future, and it works. The way I feel, I drive just like him, only he's a little bit better because he's been doing this about 30 years longer."
On Saturday night, Danburg will compete in the third round of the Desert Rose Series at Champion. The event will be part of a double 100-lap feature show, which will include 25-plus cars running in the Western Modified Western Shootout. A glance at the Desert Rose standings with two races in the book show Phil Perry of Lincoln, Calif., a driver well-known to long-time race fans in Carson City, leading with 92 points, with Henry Hodges and Danburg tied for second-place with 73 points each.
It was Danburg's passion for racing - and his interest in seeing others enjoy the sport just as he does - that lured the Goss brothers to the track themselves back in 1994.
"We used to sit up in the stands and watch the races. We still didn't know Chet yet, but we'd root for him because he lived a couple of doors down," said Ed Goss, 42. "Back in the day, there was always 30 cars or more and there were a lot of rivalries, a lot of heroes, and good guys and bad guys and that made it all the more fun. We would sit up there and watch the races and me and Al would say, 'You know, if we ever come across a car, we could do this.'"
Obviously, they came across a car.
"We bought a car for $500, a Trans Am, we put it together and then we went out to the track with this car and I think Al won the B main his first time out," Ed Goss said. "After that, we went over and introduced ourselves to Chet. He invited us over to take a look at his shop and then he told us stuff we could do to get better.
"Chet would say, 'Do this and do this,' and Al went from being the fast of the slow cars in the Maverick Division to winning something like four of five races toward the end of the season."
Since then, Al Goss has become one of the track's most recognized drivers, highlighted by championships during the 2001 and '03 seasons.
"When Al kind of started beating Chet, it was like, 'Well, you guys don't need my help anymore, let's all go out and have fun,'" Ed Goss said.
At that, all three broke out in laughter together in a light moment shared by teammates who have a tremendous amount of respect for each other.
"Everything that Chet has done for us and the guys from the past John Iverson, Kris Keller, Tom Waters, Brian Colodny and Dean Heller ... probably just about everyone out there, Chet has helped one way or another," Ed Goss went on. "We were just fortunate to get a little bit more help than the rest of them."
"He helps everybody, I mean everybody, and to be a part of that is just great," added Al Goss.
"These guys have done a lot for me, too," Danburg acknowledged. "We trade off a lot and that's part of the game. It's not just them, either, it's Stuart Moon and all of the guys.
Danburg's nickname, "The Jet," was given to him by his track coach in high school.
"I was a pretty fast runner and high jumper," Danburg said. "One day, someone told the announcer at the track, Brett Ramthun, this was my nickname, and it stuck here, too."
He won the Limited Sportsman class in 1994, followed by Late Model triumphs in 2000, '01 and '03. Glancing around his trophy room, Danburg acknowledges that the championships are nice, but just as much so, he is proud of the "Favorite Driver" awards.
"I've gotten three or four favorite drivers - Sportsman of the Year - and those are special to me," Danburg said.
Racing requires considerable support, not the least of which are the various sponsorships. Looking at their cars, Ceramic Tile Center, Harold Long Motors and Lombard Auto Works are displayed prominently.
"The Horseshoe Club and Century 21, Darrel and Patti Page ... they give me money every year," Danburg said.
"It's hard to get sponsors and of course none of us would be where we are without those sponsors to help us out," Ed Goss said.
Surprisingly, Ed is in just his first season of driving on a regular basis, and so far he's brought home two trophy dash victories and one main even runner-up finish.
"Ten years of doing it, being the crew and the guy spending the money and this and that and helping everybody, it kind of renewed my interest in racing," he said.
The Goss brothers were exposed at early ages to racing and to driving trucks when they were growing up in San Jose.
"Dad was a truck driver, so whenever we'd drive, it would be like, 'What do your gauges say?' Check this, check that.' So the awareness with everything as a driver kind of came natural to us, I think, and it transfers into the race car as far as all your peripherals," Ed Goss said.
When it comes to racing, the Quicksilver Racing members are in agreement - the more, the merrier.
"I wish the car counts would get up again," Ed Goss said. "There was a time where they would run a B main and there would be guys who were on the trailer watching other guys race," Ed Goss said. "If you weren't fast enough, I mean, if 28 cars showed up and only 20 were starting, there were eight cars on the trailer watching everyone else race.
"We're big supporters of the track because we like racing and Chet and all of us encourage everybody we know to try and get out there. So we're more than willing to help people with equipment and setup, we want people to go fast out there so they're competitive and not a hazard out there."
So, does anything beat racing at the track on a Saturday night?
"You know, being with my wife, that's the only thing that's ahead of that, as far as racing goes," Danburg said. "I love racing, but the family's always first."
Dave Price can be reached at 881-1220 or at email@example.com
Desert Rose Series Race No. 3 featuring open rules legal Super Late Models from Northern Nevada, Roseville, Stockton, Ukiah, Lakeport and Shasta. "Western Modified Shootout" for Pavement (IMCA) type modifieds $1,000 to win 100 laps in two 50 lap segments, sponsored by Travelers RV Sales of Reno. Gates open at 5 p.m., fans are admitted at 4 to watch hot laps. Qualifying starts at 6 and the first racing event at 7:15.