We recently had the pleasure of catching up with Doc from the hit Discovery Channel series, Street Outlaws, while at the Team Boddie Racing No Excuses Round 4 in Sacramento, California. Doc talks to us about his time racing in the sport and how life has changed since he started on the show.
RPMHD: Where did you get your start in drag racing?
Just my passion for cars and wanting to go fast; I was born with need for speed. Muscle cars when I grew up in the late 70’s and 80’s and stuff, everybody had a muscle car. Everyone had a Mustang or a Chevelle or whatever. It was real easy to fall into the sport, not like today, it was a lot easier back then.
What was your first racecar?
My first racecar would be this one (1970 Chevy Monte Carlo), we bought it off eBay out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Drove it all the way back to Oklahoma City, put it on the track, and went 12.27 right off the trailer and I was hooked right there. Before that I dabbled, I had a 1969 SS 396 that I thought was fast. I had another first generation Monte Carlo that I thought was fast. I was just terrorizing the streets as a teenager just having a good time being a youth in America.
Is street racing in Oklahoma basically a tradition you grew up watching?
No it was a complete underground lifestyle. I had no idea about it. I sold the Chevelle and raised two girls, started a business making a little money. Bought the Monte Carlo and was king of test and tune every Friday night I was out there. The car was too slow to bracket race in this race, too fast to bracket race in that other one. And bracket racing wasn’t really my thing so I met Monza and he was like, ‘Hey man! Come check us out this weekend.’ So I went out there with him and seen what the midwest street car guys were doing and just fell in love immediately. Like the next day I told Monza, ‘Open the JEGS catalogue and tell me what I need to buy.’ We bought our first big shop plate out of a JEGS catalogue and put it on; the next weekend we were out street racing. It hasn’t stopped since.
When it started it was with the car you have now?
Yeah it was a small-tire, had a back seat, like a 850 mild steel cage in it. I had put the big block in it, a 565, she was running about 10.50s and 10.40s on pump gas. It just wasn’t fast enough for these guys. We put some nitrous on it and found out quickly that big, heavy cars with small tires and nitrous just don’t get along. I met Mickey from the group and we back-halved it in the winter of 2009. So in March we debuted it on a show called Pinks All Out. We went down to the track in Ennis, Texas and tried to make it on the show and didn’t make it. I got all mad and pissed off and said ‘Screw all that, we’ll just go back back and have fun on the streets.’ Won the first cash days I entered with the car big-tired and that’s where my street racing career began.
How did Discovery get ahold of you guys in Oklahoma to create the show?
Believe it or not, we used to play on a discussion board called Midwest Streetcars. We all had screen names and would cuss each other out, call each other out all on the computer. That’s all it was and then we’d get together on the weekends and settle it. Race for our list spots and race for fun. One day this guy got on the website and said, ‘Hey, I’m so and so from Pilgrim Studios. I’m interested in filming you guys. Do you want to be on TV?’ Chief answered and said, ‘If you’re for real, call me.’ That’s kinda where it came from. Discovery Channel through Pilgrim found us in the Middle of the United States, the armpit of America, and voila, the TV show was built.
Since the genesis of the show, how much of the sport has changed since you’ve been involved?
We’ve all changed, let’s just be honest. Some of the guys have changed more than others. We’ve all changed, it’s impossible not to. The show has afforded us opportunities we never would’ve had in our lifetime.
How much different is it now that you guys have a target on your back when you show up to the track?
Everybody knows us, everybody wants to meet us, everybody wants to shake our hand, everybody wants to race us. That’s changed. Before the show we were kind of a bunch of nobodies. We were the big fish in a small pond, so to speak. In the street scene between [Oklahoma] and Texas, we were kings, we were the big fish. Then the TV show came around and we’ve been holding our own pretty good. I still consider ourselves as a group a big fish but now we’re in the ocean. We moved from that pond to the ocean as a group and I still feel like we’re unbeatable. I don’t think there’s another five or six cars in any city across the country that can beat us.
With that being said, how much fun is this?
It’s still a blast. Filming is a pain in the ass, it’s not as fun as it used to be because there’s a lot on the line now. Winning or losing there’s a lot on the line, so it’s taken some of the fun out of it. We’ve worked our asses off the get the fun back in the show and I believe season 7 and season 8 that we just filmed reflects that. We’re all having fun again and we’ve reenergized. But we have to do that, that work the we put in affords us the opportunity to come out to places like [Sacramento] and do Boddie’s race. I went to Australia in February and spent three weeks. Without the show I would have never gotten that opportunity so it’s opened a bunch of doors for us and has allowed us to take our street cars, evolve them into what they are today and come around the country, I don’t care whether it’s Washington, Florida, California to New Jersey, we can go just about anywhere right now and race on the track and everybody knows who we are. Before that we couldn’t do that.
How much does the show and racing take away from your business and family life?
It’s very very taxing on your work; most of all your home life struggles. Most of the guys, practically all of them quit their day jobs and the show’s a full time job. I’ve had my business for fifteen years now. My grandpa and me kinda started it so that’s special. I’m not shutting my daily job down, I’m keeping that going. So I have two full time jobs. The show, the car, the family, the fans, the social media; that’s full time plus. That’s sixty, seventy, eighty hours a week right there. Plus my day job. I don’t get much sleep. This gray hair and big ol’ fat guy I got is earned.