Getting Up To Speed With…Doug Lockwood
By Ben Deatherage
(Photo Courtesy of Mike Sweere)
Doug Lockwood is a fixture at Sunset Speedway Park and if you ask him why he likes racing he will respond with terms like calming, therapy, or totally fun. Competing for over twenty racing season Lockwood has accumulated two SSP Modified championships as well as one title in the Sportsman division at River City Speedway in St. Helens.
The Aloha native didn’t have a strong racing background as his father was primarily a drag racer even operated Woodburn Dragstrip for a span of time. Doug was an avid motorcycle rider out in the woods before getting behind the wheel of a race car.
But in his career he has won over one-hundred trophy dashes, heat races, and main events combined. 2014 should be very interesting as he will sport a new Larry Shaw Race Car chassis but rest assured he will still bring his professional approach and winning attitude to the race track. We got a chance to talk with him about his involvement in the sport from a driver to a brief stint as a race director. Now let’s get up to speed with Doug Lockwood.
Driver: Doug Lockwood
Home Track: Sunset Speedway
Hometown: Aloha, Oregon
Occupation: Business Operator
Years Racing: 23
Classification: IMCA Modified
Chassis: Larry Shaw Race Cars
Sponsors: Aloha Station Tavern, Perfection Automotive, Ross Electric, Curtis Trailers, Sweere Trucking, Warpaint Motorsports Graphix
Special Thanks: Mike Graham
BD: Well Doug the season is quickly approaching what are your current plans for 2014?
DL: Well I got a new Shaw chassis for this year. I still have the FR1 that I’ve had for several seasons but I’m not quite sure what I want to do with it. I might make it a B-Mod or sell it.
Finances will play a big part in it but I’d like to bounce around this year run Sunset, go to Willamette a couple of times, and run at Cottage Grove too. I’d like to try and make all of the Modified Speedweek this year if I can.
Recently I became a Grandpa and my kid is stationed in Germany in the service. He’s already done two tours already and I’m very proud of him. Actually I have a couple of kids in the service and I'm really proud of them.
I’m going to try and get to see them at the start of the season if they are still in the states for training but if they have to go back to Germany I’ll try and go see them that’s kind of my priority right now. I haven’t gotten to meet my grandchild yet so I’d really like to do that.
BD: I know you’ve been racing for several years exactly how did you get your start in racing?
DL: I started as a pit crew guy for a car my dad owned. My driving career started from a guy named Bob Webster. He had his own private dirt track at his house out in Vernonia.
When he found out my dad was involved in dirt racing he invited us to come out one day. He saw me and he pushed me into getting into a car. He put me in an overpowered car of the two that were available and we got to going and I got sideways while he was under me and spun it out of his way.
Afterwards he told me he had a blast and thought we were going to crash. He told me my instincts was exactly what I needed to do in that situation. He had me play around by myself and I ran lots of laps. They ended up putting me on the stop watch and I ended up being the fastest guy to race at that track.
After that my dad offered to build a Street Stock I think it was a 1970 Chevy Camaro. We built everything pretty much from the ground up. I started racing out at Banks and then raced at St. Helens. I got faster as the years went by and before too long I was winning main events.
Back around in 1994 I ran both the Street Stocks and Sportsman and was leading the points in both classes at St. Helens. This was when the Sportsman division had C and D Mains every night. I was leading in the Street Stock points but fell back to fourth on the last night. In the Sportsman class I did everything right and made it through the field and won the main. I went from fourth to first in points that race and won by three points that year.
Around 1996 I got a shoulder injury at work and didn’t really race until ten years later. It was also hard to get back into it because my dad passed away in 2001 and that was tough because he was my biggest fan. Some mutual friends like Mike Graham and Sam Jeffers really helped me to get back into it.
When I came back I went straight into the Modifieds because I had always wanted to run them. Back in the 1990’s we would go to Phoenix for the NASCAR races and then at night go to the old Manzanita Speedway for the big Modified Winternationals. I actually enjoyed the dirt racing better than the pavement stuff.
One of my best memories was in 2011 I ran third in the first Modified Speedweek race at Sunset with my old Street Stock motor. I was used to fifty laps and we only went forty so it was a short race for me and I almost got second. Another one was a T&G Thriller race when I had a great race with Mike Graham going thirty straight laps side-by-side. Lapped traffic came into play and he ended up pulling off the win. That was one of those most exciting races I’ve been in even though I didn’t win.
BD: Is there a reason you race the #66?
DL: That was the year I was born and I also have a little hot rod truck that’s the same year too. And sometimes I’m a little evil.
BD: How was your experience as Race Director towards the end of 2012?
DL: There was couple reasons why I did it. The big one was I couldn’t race because I had a severe neck surgery so I was sidelined for that year. At the end of the 2011 season I went to the doctor and it turned out I had a bulging disc which effected a lot of my basic functions and if I had waited a little longer could have paralyzed me. When I saw the neurosurgeon he scheduled me for surgery the next day that’s how serious it was.
I knew there was some stuff happening at the track and I figured they needed some help and I texted Jerry. It was a bit of tough job at times but I think I made a difference. I had fun and I learned a little bit of how a race track is ran. I also got closer to a lot of people that I knew who they were but didn’t really know anything about them.
BD: How fun is it to take people who have never been in a race car before in the two-seater Late Model?
DL: It’s actually pretty funny at times. Most people’s reaction is that they thought it was totally different from watching in the stands. There are people in the stands that say they can do that but when they get in the car it’s a different story. I usually try and run the edge to widen up the racetrack and that car really likes the high line.
People think that’s it’s a big advantage to me by getting more laps when I'm running the Modified on the same night but it really isn’t. They are two different cars and the driving styles are completely different. I had a history of spinning out in turn one on the last lap when a girl would be in it. But at the end of the day I try and get them their money’s worth.
Last year when I had to race and jump out of that car and go into the two-seater it reminded me of back in the day when I ran two cars in the same time earlier in my career. The chassis has a lot of history and was one of Greg Walter’s old cars. I think it’s a 1997 GRT chassis.
Sunset Speedway Park enters the 2014 season with an action packed schedule that you do not want to miss out on. The first event of the season is a test and tune play day scheduled to take place on Saturday April 5th while the first race of the year will be held on the 19th. To get the latest information and read the most recent stories regarding SSP log on to www.sunsetspeedwaypark.com.