When LaTavis Maddox was a child, he would watch his uncle, Tyrone Maddox, race his Duster near their homes in Maryland. And the more he would watch, the more he would learn, regardless of whether his uncle had won or lost a race. Intrigue turned to interest, and then interest turned to involvement, as Maddox began grudge racing in a Vega back in 2011.
“When I was watching my uncle, I always said that one day, I was going to build my own car,” said Maddox.
He held his own in the car and won many races — and bets — in it before selling it in 2014 and sitting out for a while.
“The cars were getting faster and faster, and everyone was stepping up, so to step up my program, I built the Malibu that I have now, “Salt ’N Pepper”, in 2016, and everything on it is top of the line,” said Maddox. “I also built a Mustang at the time, and I was racing the Malibu and the Mustang for a while, but then I sold the Mustang after a year.”
Unfortunately, Maddox crashed in the Malibu last year, and while he was not hurt, the car was, and he spent the following five months rebuilding it before bringing it back out, better than ever, last November. The black and white beauty is powered by a small-block Chevrolet and nitrous, and it rolls on 28×10.5-inch tires.
“The Malibu rides like a Cadillac,” said Maddox, whose brother, Ray-Ray Maddox, is his teammate.
In addition to “riding like a Cadillac,” the car, with Maddox behind the wheel, is a consistent winner in grudge races near his home in Maryland and in surrounding states.
“I’ve won a lot of races, and I’m having fun with it,” said Maddox. “Because of this, I’ve also been able to travel all around the East Coast and the Midwest to grudge races. I know I can’t get everywhere, but I’m fortunate to have been where I’ve been. Some people can only dream of that.”
In that time, Maddox has attracted a lot of fans.
“When fans follow me and come see me race, it means a lot to me,” said Maddox. “I think they like the Malibu and that I talk trash, and have a ‘Let’s line them up and go’ attitude. I hope I never disappoint them.”
The popular grudge racer is preparing to put it down at the upcoming 4th Annual Wooostock, which, in addition to grudge racing, will feature No Time, Radial Tire and Pro Mod racing, May 14-16 at Darlington Dragway in South Carolina. While he has attended the event as a spectator, this will be his first time being part of the line-up.
“I’m looking forward to being part of putting on a show for the fans, and I think my chances of winning grudge races are good,” said Maddox. “In addition to my brother and teammate Ray-Ray, I want to give a shout out to my dad, Anglo Barnes, who’s always there, as well as my sister, LaShawn, my nephew, Andrew, Ralph Price, who is the best tuner and chassis man, and the rest of my team.”