For just a few minutes, the rumble of Shane Eperjesi’s custom drag bike helps quiet his mind. A nearby cheering crowd is muted as he fastens his helmet and zips up his leather racing jacket.
For a moment on a 1/8-mile track, it’s just Eperjesi and his motorcycle.
“When I’m out on the track, my mind is empty. I have to throw everything out,” he said. “I don’t care who I’m racing. If they line up next to me, they’d better be ready.”
Eperjesi, 38, says distractions affect his ability to react in a competition where fractions of a second can determine a race.
“Your bike is only half the game. If we’re racing and I know your routine is to set your bike first at the line, it’s not happening,” he said. “I’m setting first to get into your head because in drag racing, you only have a 50-50 chance at winning.”
The Lake Dallas resident received his first bike when he was 5 and has been drag racing since he was 10. During that time, he has won more than 100 races.
He and his brother, Duane Eperjesi, have spent most of their lives on the racetrack, a lifestyle introduced to them by their father, Larry Eperjesi, who is also a drag racer.
“Shane was and still is a natural. He took to racing like a duck to water,” Larry Eperjesi said. “I’m not surprised he’s been in so long, because he’s very good at it. He’s now teaching me things.”
Larry Eperjesi said drag racing has strengthened his relationships with both of his sons, with conversations dominated by drag racing — sometimes over dinner at family gatherings.
In a few years, the Eperjesi brothers and their father may have a new addition to their racing pack. Shane Eperjesi said he might’ve also given his daughter, Jordan, 9, the racing bug. She attended her first drag race at 2 weeks old.
“She’s my little sidekick, and either this year or next year, I’ll begin easing her into it,” he said.
Shane Eperjesi said racing has given him a confidence that allows him to tackle any obstacle life might throw at him.
“It has given me a drive in life,” he said. “My confidence has definitely grown because of my accomplishments on the track.”
Roaring down racetracks at speeds that can exceed 170 mph in less than 5 seconds, he receives an adrenaline rush that continues to fuel his desire to race more than 30 years after his first ride.
For Eperjesi, the rush is still the same, even though he races at much faster speeds than when he was younger.
“My second home is the racetrack,” he said. “It’s fun and I’m still fairly young, so it’s definitely a thrill for me. There’s nothing you can compare it to.”
Even though the racing season ended in November, Eperjesi refuses to take a break from his bikes.
“I love tinkering and tuning them up,” he said. “Anybody can get a motorcycle down the racetrack but to get a super-fast motorcycle down the racetrack, it takes a certain knack for it.”
In September, the Lake Dallas City Council honored Eperjesi for his performance in drag racing.
Mayor Tony Marino said Eperjesi’s accomplishments are valuable to the city and the residents.
“I think it’s important to highlight individuals in the community who are doing something great,” Marino said. “Shane is a good guy, and we value what he does.”
Several awards from his competitions from over the years are displayed in a hallway of Eperjesi’s home.
The awards recognize his performance and wins, but he said they serve as a reminder of what it takes to build confidence as a drag racer.
“Don’t get me wrong. I’ve lost my share of races, too. It’s not all win, win, win,” he said with a laugh. “You have to be a good loser to be a good winner.”
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .