CHATHAM – Sand dunes and salt air are fine for most Cape Codders, but Doug Meservey, Jr., is all about wide tires with good grip and putting the pedal to the metal as he sets sights on a professional racing career. Thanks to his new partnership with Keith Rocco Racing, that career just picked up speed.
If you're from Chatham then the Meservey name both in town and in regards to the racing circuit is familiar. In fact, Doug Meservey, Jr. is one of many racing enthusiasts in the family, and got his start when he was barely out of toddlerhood, racing go-karts at a track in Connecticut.
Since then the senior in the automotive program at Cape Cod Tech has competed in countless events, collecting dozens of hardware, which is on display along with those of his grandfather, Dan, father Doug, Sr., uncle Dan, Jr., and cousin Brett at the family shop in Chatham.
But what Meservey is most excited about is taking on Stafford Motor Speedway this season, beginning on April 27 with the Spring Sizzler where he will race his SK Modified No. 67.
“My dad's raced the modified tour. I've raced the modified tour. My uncle has. They've all been successful in every level they've raced,” Meservey said.
For the unfamiliar, a Modified is a race car chassis with a frame specifically built for racing. The transmission is always manual and most are Chevrolets, though there are the occasional Fords. Contrary to those seen in the televised NASCAR races, Modifieds are open-wheeled cars with 600 horsepower motors, and, as Meservey noted, “Everything you can possibly make light on the car is light.” Think titanium and the like, and if you need further explanation, ask Meservey, who possesses a wealth of knowledge. As Meservey explained, racing isn't just in his family, it's also in his blood.
“It's all I think about, all I do,” Meservey said.
But he is quick to note that his motivation isn't money.
“For a lot of people that race it's not about money,” Meservey said. “You don't make money racing unless you're at the top. It's not this huge fame thing unless you're actually up there. I just like getting in a car and being able to out-drive someone and beat them because you worked on it all week.”
Lending credence to his words are the two big garage bays in Commerce Park housing a slew of cars, including his own, which he's been working on diligently since the last racing season. When asked why the No. 67, and why orange, his reply is simple.
“I wanted a number that no one else had,” he said. “And originally I wanted a red and black car, but when I got this one it was orange and I liked it.”
Meservey said racing is a unique sport, one in which most drivers struggle with something of an ego battle in their quest for victory and notoriety.
“You want to be better than everybody else,” he said. “It takes a lot to be that, but at the same time you've got to be really humble about it because you can't go out there and expect to win every race because racing is completely unpredictable.”
There are two races that stand out in Meservey's history.
“My family has a lot of history at this track called Thompson International Speedway,” Meservey said. “There's a World Series race at the end of the year. My first time racing that race I won. That was big for me. Then, just this past season I went down South and actually raced on the NASCAR tour.”
The South has a particular allure for Meservey since that's pretty much the heart of professional racing, which means that he is on the fence right now about where to take himself. The closest track to home is Seekonk, which is almost a two-hour drive, and the next nearest are at least three hours away.
“[Up north] we only race six months out of the year, but down south they race 11 months out of the year, and that's where everyone is,” Meservey said. “What I'm focused on is I want to race the modified tour and then move down if I'm successful.”
The challenge regarding a move south is that the types of cars raced are different.
“Modifieds aren't really big down there. They're more of a northern thing,” Meservey said. “I don't want to just jump down there into a car I've never raced before.”
Money is also an obstacle. Each race comes with an entry fee that covers the costs of replacement tires, fuel, pit passes, and other equipment, but can be prohibitive unless a racer is sponsored. Meservey is looking for sponsors eager to support his racing career and have their logos affixed to his car.
“A lot of it is that you have to ask the questions,” he said. “If you don't ask questions you can't find the opportunities. You can't just wait for a door to open. Sometimes you have to open it for yourself, and the support will follow that. A lot of the success and support we've found is that we've asked. I'm not afraid to hear 'no.' I'd rather ask and hear 'no' than not ask and not be able to do what I want to do.”
What Meservey wants to do is forge a successful career behind the wheel of a fast car.
“This is something that I want to do for my whole life,” Meservey said. “I want to be one of those kids that made it from a small town all the way to the top.”