Canada’s single longest running Top Alcohol Dragster team owner continues his craft…..
Within Canadian drag racing — the name Doug Doucette has become synyomous with the word — innovation. This long time Winnipeg-based dragster owner has carved out his reputation within NHRA Top Alcohol class car racing for sure as an “outside the box” thinker. While his dragsters might often resemble the norm in the class — in fact both his race machine and support components are more often then not — unique or hand crafted.
When racing fans with meticulous tastes see Doug’s current injected nitro car – which he re-debuted last season with a ultra sleek and sharp looking new appearance— they might be surprised to learn that this particular car has in fact been on the scene for about decade.
“Although it might not look like it on the surface now – we started with this car ten years ago,” Doug confirmed. “Over the years it’s been front-halfed and back-halfed twice. Then last winter we upgraded the rear end to a new Strange assembly and had to shorten the back end to accommodate that. We also hand crafted a new body that has one of those larger windshields.”
“I built all my own chassis – always have,” Doug continued. “I take most of my pleasure from this sport from designing and doing that tech. It is for sure one of the reasons why I’ve continued to do this after over 30+ years. While the car’s roll cage and driver’s area are somewhat normal (because we have to stay within the parameters of class rules that NHRA dictates) my cars are different then most and my own thing. I really enjoy that part of the challenge.”
From a motor and drive train perspective Doucette’s cars also seem to remain within a stage of constant evolution too. While that task is both out of necessity in order to remain being competitive within this tough NHRA Lucas Oil class category, that science too is a major attraction for the race team. They have often experimented with some unique in-house engineering too (one example being – the team’s self-designed tongue and cheek “illudium PU-36” — which is apparently space modulated!)
Doug’s race team brain trust also includes Canadian tuning wizard Ken Murray as a co-crew chief and consultant.
“Ken Murray has been an important part of my team for over 20 years,” Doug emphasized. “And it’s truly an honour to have a legend like that in my racing stable.”
For many seasons, Doug Doucette used to drive his own race cars — but he has since elected to put highly compitent U.S. based racer Alan Bradshaw behind the controls for his machines. Bradshaw, who lives in Odessa Texas, has driven a variety of drag cars during his career – including Top Fuel dragsters.
When racing fans do visit the Doucette Racing pit area too — there is also a popular alternate attraction — a truly amazing team tow vehicle which (no surprise) is also hand built.
That is a one-of-a-kind and snow white 1938 Maple Leaf replica which took many many man hours to construct.
“It’s based on a ’38 Maple Leaf – but to be honest the headlights only are original,” Doug revealed. “First we built all our own chassis and suspension. Then we took a ’46 Chevy cab for the middle and made that 10” wider. The body is all 1/8 aluminum which we first formed in a press but then hand beat into shape. It was several years in the making and everything was done by hand with a lot of help from many friends and my crew.”
Doug confirmed that his tow vehicle, which features a 400 HP C9 Cat motor and which immediately turns heads when travelling down the highway — is also very functional. “We went with a auto shift and a clutch pedal – before a computer takes over,” he added. “That really works well.”
Doug and his team plan to again be active within NHRA’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Central Region as well as at select NHRA national events again in 2017 where they hope at some point to improve upon their career best ET of 5.22 secs.
Posted by Bruce Biegler
Photos by Bruce Biegler & Jim Kampmann