Getting Up To Speed With...Craig Loomis
By Ben Deatherage
(Photo Courtesy of Ken O'Neil)
The last three seasons Craig Loomis has ran the table in the Street Stock division at Sunset Speedway Park. Craig, of Vancouver, Washington, has put together three straight championships in the division and won last year’s edition of the prestigious Jim’s Thriftway 100. Loomis also has earned a championship four times in the last five years at SSP as he also picked up the Pure Stock title in 2009. He also managed to win a Bomber championship on the pavement at the old Portland Speedway back in 1998.
Loomis’ career in racing began as a crew member on a Pavement Late Model team in the 1980’s and then started driving cars himself in 1989 in the Bombers at Portland. We managed to talk with Craig about his racing career, what some of his plans are in 2014, and more. Now let’s get up to speed with Craig Loomis.
Driver: Craig Loomis
Home Track: Sunset Speedway Park
Hometown: Vancouver, Washington
Occupation: Machinist/Engine Builder
Years Racing: 20
Classification: Street Stocks
Team: Loomis Racing
Chassis: 1978 Chevy Camaro
Sponsors: Liberty Welding, Old Iron Classics, City Sprint Deliveries, Buz’s Equipment Trailers, All-American Classics, Loyning’s Engine Service, and Jerry’s Tire, Tony’s Auto Parts
Special Thanks: Traci Walck, Timmy Corpron, Danny O’Neil Jr., Alicia Nusom
BD: Craig do have any specific plans for 2014?
CL: I’m not quite sure yet but I’ll probably run at least a few races this year at Sunset. At the end of last year I made my goal for the next season to run at few different tracks so I might go down to race Willamette a couple of times. It really depends on what my sponsors want me to do. I’m going to have a new body on the car this year and I changed up the paint scheme a little bit with some black added to it.
BD: Is there a story behind you racing the #01?
CL: I started out running the #01 back in 1998 at Portland. My car was orange and at the time the Bombers were a class that was really popular for the kids. I had a General Lee from the Dukes of Hazard paint scheme with the #01 on it. I did it to get the kids to enjoy coming to watch the races. Basically I’ve stuck with that number ever since.
BD: How exactly did you get your start in racing?
CL: My brother-in-law Tom Pinkowski was a machinist that ran Late Models. He would race at Portland on Fridays and then South Sound up in Washington on Saturdays back in the 1980’s. I was on his crew and he got me really interested in racing. After he went on tour I kind of did my own thing and started helping Jeff Corpron for a couple of seasons in the 1990’s.
With me always pitting on cars I developed an urge to get behind the wheel and see how fast I could go. I decided to get a Chevelle from Jeff Biffle to run in the Bombers and with the help of the Fors family they helped me get started and even hauled my car to the track. Then I later did the Enduro races and ran with people like the Sayre family and Greg Biffle and sometimes we would have around ninety cars a night. I won the Bomber championship in 1998 and got second in points the following season.
After Portland closed I didn’t start racing at Banks until 2002 on a part-time basis. Danny O’Neal Jr. was someone really helped me out running full-time again and even let me race his car the whole 2008 season in the Street Stocks and then helped me build a car to run in the Pure Stocks the following year. Another person I’ve got thank is my girlfriend Traci she has been very supportive of my racing and loves to come with me to the races also Timmy Corpron for his support and working on the car for the past four years.
BD: Last year seemed like you had your most dominant season in the Street Stocks, would agree with that statement?
CL: Yes, it was definitely my best championship run. There were five or six guys that at are fast out there so it’s always a challenge.
BD: How fun is it to race in the Street Stock division with the stacked competition?
CL: It’s a blast. You have drivers like Tony Catalano, Marc Farrar, Brian Roden, John Ireland, Danny O’Neil Jr., and some others that every week any of them could win. It’s fun to have a full field or cars and a very competitive class to run in. At Banks people are really clean drivers wanting to have fun so if you accidentally get into someone they’re probably not going to lose their cool.
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.