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Roger Archer: A Need For Speed


econoLM15

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Ennis resident, Roger Archer, has always been a thrill seeker.

If it was on wheels, he would race it and, for more than two

decades, auto racing was the name of the game. “I just like

racing,” he said. “When I was a boy, I raced bicycles. Anything

that could go fast, I tried it. I started racing sprint cars when

I was 26, and I’ve loved it ever since.”

His kids, who are now adults, can vouch that their father

has been a racing fanatic almost all of their lives. “My dad has

been doing this since I was about 2 weeks old,” Roger’s

daughter, Tila Slovacek said. “First race I ever went to was

before I could even walk. He has been racing for as long as I

can remember.”

Roger was born and reared around cars, so naturally he

became a master at the tools of the trade. “I have always been

mechanically inclined,” he said. “I started working on my

dad’s car when I was only 10 years old and owned my own

garage for 45 years. Racing just seemed to fall in line with

what I already did.”

Roger admitted he did not have much at the time, but he took

the little money he earned and the skills he had learned to pursue

a career in professional racing. “These days,everyone buys all

their parts, but when I was racing, I built and maintained

everything,” he said. “I would just grab a welding gun and torch

and make it myself.”

Roger was his own boss, and every week from Albuquerque to

Knoxville to Shreveport, he would go wherever engines were

revving and rubber was burning. “I was my crew because I

never drove for anyone else,” he said.“I tried it for a while,

but eventually would go back to doing my own thing. I

would race at the Devil’s Bowl in Mesquite and then head to a

state up north on Saturday and then another place on Sunday.

I made sure I was traveling somewhere at least once a month.”

Racing may be in the Archer blood, as Roger’s dad

enjoyed the sport, and so did all three of his children. “My

dad built cars, so I just naturally got into it,” he said. “He

took me to my first race when I was 9 years old, and it was

noisy, dirty and lots of fun. Then I ended up having two boys

who were into racing, too. My oldest son raced cars and the

youngest did motocross.”

Roger’s world was turned upside down after his son, Dale

Archer, died in a tragic car accident. After 22 years of racing,

Roger hung up the gear and decided to call it quits, but he

was not done with the sport entirely. He bought a track in

Waco and held races there each weekend. “For the first three

years, we lived in an 8-foot by 8-foot room. My wife was a

school teacher in Dallas, and she would drive back and forth

on the weekends. It was difficult, but these were the sacrifices

we had to make.”

After 10 years of owning that track, he moved out to Ennis

and purchased 85 Speedway. For more than two decades, racing

has been more than just Roger’s personal interest. It has been a

means of bringing the Archers together. “The fun of doing this is

having your family here,” Roger added.

A Need for Speed

Tila agreed that her father’s passion seemed to be contagious,

passing to his children and his children’s children.“The races were

something he brought us kids to, and we knew we could bring our

kids to,” Tila said. “It’s become a family thing. I have enjoyed

it because it’s something he loves to do. It’s become a legacy,

a part of our family history.”

Although the racing days are well behind him, Roger reminisces on

that period of his life, the memories made and adventures taken.

“I miss the thrill of the race,” Roger said. “I had the opportunity

to do something new every weekend; to do something different

each weekend that makes you get better.“I enjoyed meeting

different people,” he said. “I was featured twice in Circle

Track Magazine and lots of people in the industry actually knew

my name. If it weren’t for that opportunity, I don’t think I

would have been able to do all of the things I’ve done.” With

all the curves and bumps life has thrown at Roger, the checkered

flag has not been waved just yet. He said he has loved every part

of racing and admitted, if given the opportunity, he would go for

another spin. “I like doing what I did. The only thing I regret is

stopping as early as I did,”

Roger said. “Every once in a while, I get in with one of the drivers

and go around the track for old time’s sake. Maybe one day I’ll own

a Friday-night track,so I can race on Saturdays. If I had the

chance, I would be racing again.”

— By Danielle Parker

www.nowmagazines.com 22 EnnisNOW July 2009

 

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photos Courtesy of Tila Slovacek

 

 

econo

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I remember Roger Archer from the economy late model division at Buffalo Park , but I never knew the other stuff .

 

Roger doesn't mention that he was a three time Track Champion and that he drove just about every class of cars

there was to drive. If he were to climb back in a car today I wouldn't bet against him. Roger works his tail off out there

on the track every week along with his family. Tila worked hard promoting the July 2nd race and it paid off with a

good turnout of both cars and fans. The Late Model that his son Dale drove at Buffalo still sits in the parking lot as a

monument to him.

 

econo

 

This is the modified Roger ran at Buffalo

post-10047-1247314941.jpg

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. Roger works his tail off out there

on the track every week along with his family. Tila worked hard promoting the July 2nd race and it paid off with a

good turnout of both cars and fans.

 

Sounds like hard work is second nature to him , judging by how he used to race . He reminds me of my grandfather . He was 82 when he died , and even then , he could still work harder than I could on my best day . Those guys from back then were just a different breed , much tougher than we are .

 

 

 

The Late Model that his son Dale drove at Buffalo still sits in the parking lot as a

monument to him.

 

I rememeber Dale Archer now that he's been mentioned .

 

econo

 

This is the modified Roger ran at Buffalo

post-10047-1247314941.jpg

 

I don't remember that car , but I might have seen it . Do you remember when he quit the modifieds ?

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He must have been an innovator - I've never seen a sprinter with a blower before.

 

Now that you mention it, I haven't either. I will ask him about that tonight at the track.

 

 

econo

 

That looks like a Super Modified to me . I wonder what type of motor is in the car in the first picture . Looks like lots of stuff sticking up out of the hood . It looks like a Super Modified too . And I'm guessing it had a flathead ford .

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I don't remember that car , but I might have seen it . Do you remember when he quit the modifieds ?

Roger ran that mod. for two or three years. He quit runnin modified around 84.

 

I rememeber Dale Archer now that he's been mentioned .

Dale ran the #95 late model and Roger ran #94.

 

That looks like a Super Modified to me . I wonder what type of motor is in the car in the first picture . Looks like lots of stuff sticking up out of the hood . It looks like a Super Modified too . And I'm guessing it had a flathead ford .

The #29 cars are Super Modifieds. Looks like duel carbs sticking up off the side of the motor like an old flathead. I will ask Roger about these cars when I get a chance. Hard to do on race night unless you want to try and keep up with him.

 

econo

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He must have been an innovator - I've never seen a sprinter with a blower before.

 

Now that you mention it, I haven't either. I will ask him about that tonight at the track.

 

 

econo

 

That looks like a Super Modified to me . I wonder what type of motor is in the car in the first picture . Looks like lots of stuff sticking up out of the hood . It looks like a Super Modified too . And I'm guessing it had a flathead ford .

 

 

Looks like a flathead with dual downdraft Stromberg's, before the SBC took hold in the 50's, that setup was the cats meow.

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