A cagey veteran and one of the most recognizable drivers at Speedway Miramichi, Doug Matchett has been turning left for a long time now! Nicknamed Mr. Excitement, Doug has been wheeling his iconic yellow #75 Modified around the track since the mid-2000's. He holds the record for most Modified feature victories at Speedway Miramichi with 4 total!
Doug is in the midst of what may be considered the prime of his career. 2018 has been a memorable year, where he has scored 6 podium finishes in 7 races. Next Saturday, Doug will be back at home in Speedway Miramichi, where the Modifieds will have double features - a make-up feature from July, plus an extended distance 50 lap feature. In preview of this race, we were lucky to be able to ask Doug a few questions for this interview!
Thanks for taking part in this Doug, why don’t you start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
Doug: First off thank you for asking me to do this interview and secondly thanks for all you do for Speedway Miramichi and promoting the track. Well my name is Doug Matchett and I drive the # 75 Atlantic Modified Tour car for the last 13 years. I am 38 years old and married to Joanne and we have three great kids, Taylor, Kyler and Adrianna. I am a proud Miramichier!
How did you get into racing?
Doug: Well roughly 15 years ago now I met a guy named Mark Price and became great friends. At the time Mark drove the AOW #9 car for the tour and I loved to work on his car and became part of his pit crew for a year. Once I got into watching these AMT cars races I loved them and needed to have one. By chance Mark had a second AOW car and we made a deal for me to buy it from him and that car is the same car I race today 14 years later.
You’re having a pretty good year so far, with 6 podium finishes in 7 starts, including 4 in a row! What is making that 75 car click this year?
Doug: Yes we are having a great year and I wish we did not miss the first race of the year in Petty because if we were able to make that race we would be sitting on top of the points standing right now for the AMT championship. But we have put that behind us and are focusing on good finishes in each race, this season is not over yet. The 75 car is showing lots of great handling but is falling short on the horsepower, so we are working hard to keep a well balanced car at every track we go to and we have been able to do that. Also our goal is to be there in there in the end of every race, race smart, avoid accidents, and bring the best car we can to the track each week.
You have yet to score a feature win in 2018, but there is double features on the 15th of September here at Speedway Miramichi. How badly do you want that first win of 2018?
Doug: Thanks for reminding us of the Denver…. But seriously we are looking for our first place finish this year, and we believe as a team we will get one soon. Hopefully it will be Sept 15 at Speedway Miramichi, our home track and home town fans and sponsors. We want to win badly but the other cars in this tour are great and it is getting harder and harder to win these races.
With lots of racing left to go, you sit tied for 2nd in Speedway Miramichi points, just 6 points out of 1st. How awesome would it be for you to not only get your first championship, but also become the first Modified champion here at Speedway Miramichi?
Doug: It would be a dream come true to become the AMT champion as this 75 team has been so close to it so many years but have yet to seal the deal. As for the Speedway Miramichi championship it would be a great honour, I love this track and its history. My grandfather Roy Donovan ran back when Speedway Miramichi first opened, running 1955 and 1956 Chevy’s with the number 75 on his door. I have a picture of him on the top of my modified today to remind me that this racing runs in my blood. I would love to be in the record books as the first ever modified track champion at Speedway Miramichi.
How did you get the nickname “Mr. Excitement?”
Doug: I got the name Mr. Excitement from Petty track announcer Jesse Thompson. Jesse started announcing for the AMT a few years back and must have thought and make the race more exciting and hence the name Mr. Excitement. As a drive I want to put the best show on for our fans and I believe that if you watch me race or drive a demo car you would agree with the nickname Jesse gave me.
Which driver(s) that you have raced against do you have the most respect for?
Doug: I have respect for all the drivers that I have raced against, without them it would not be much of a race would it. Respect is earned and for the most part we drivers try to stay on the good terms with each other. But the guys I have raced for many years like Mike “Sparky” Raeburn, Joe Hoyt, Brandon Skidmore, Mark Price, Steve Curtis and Chris Wilson are guys that have always been there and help me when I needed it and race me on the track fair, and for one reason or another if we did have a problem on the track we were quick to fix it and move on. We need more of this in this sport.
We’ve seen you in Demo action over the past few years, are you going to have a Demo car at the next event?
Doug: The plan right now is to have one for September 15 demo, and for the last bash in October.
When fans come to the track, why should they cheer for you?
Doug: We drivers love our fans, and for me it is the kids that are the most important because they are the future of this sport. I love seeing the smiles on their faces when they see the race cars and get a chance to come meet us on the track and go for a few laps around. If you seen the 75 car in the past doing the kids rides you would have always seen 5 or 6 kids on my car with huge smiles and loving every minute and all I can say is there is always room for more.
Thanks Doug! Congrats on a great season so far, and best of luck in the final races of 2018! Finally, who are the people and the sponsors who make this possible for you?
Doug: First and foremost I want to thank my wife Joanne for letting me following my passion as crazy as it is. I want to thank my mother and crew chief Maureen and my aunt Juanita for coming to all me races, and working as much if not more than the other pit crews making sure everything is ready to go on time. You ladies are the best and I would not change a thing.
Thanks to the following sponsors on board the # 75 AMT this season:
Sarkis Auto body
G & D Mechanical
95.9 SUN FM
The Point Church
Nicholson’s Waste Management
Herberts Auto Repair
Jessica Breau Realtor
We would like to thank Doug again for taking part! Below we have added a few pictures of Doug throughout his racing career! We hope you will come out next Saturday and watch Doug compete in the Atlantic Modified Tour, as well as the Back to School Smash Demolition!
Stay tuned for more interviews this week!