Page 24

Fast Dreams Fulfilled

and began competing in the local scene. He made a name for himself, established contacts, gained experience and even Broken Arrow resident Russ Dugger harnesses the won some races, but he also need for speed by racing cars and trucks. ran up credit card debts to keep the truck on the track while not hile many making the living he had hoped. people may “I finally decided to move to Okladrift into homa and give up the ghost,” he says. daydreams His move to the Sooner State, howabout a life ever, breathed fresh life into the old in the fast lane, most will never have dream. With the help of a friend, he the opportunity to ride a rocket like got his old truck running and racked Wile E. Coyote. But every now and up a few more victories. He sent his then, someone will set his sights on resume, DVD and photos to every the Road Runner. racing team in North Carolina, the hub Broken Arrow resident Russ Dugof NASCAR. ger is one of those daydreamers. “I got one call back to race the Sitting in his insurance office, NASCAR truck series,” he says. “The sporting casual business attire, Dugger sponsor hunt then ensued. This would may not look like someone who drives lead to my first race in 2008.” around a track at speeds approaching Eventually, the hous200 mph in a machine with temperaing market tanked and tures in the driver’s seat reaching 130 people began hanging degrees. One slight mistake can have onto their dollars. catastrophic consequences. Discouraged, Dugger That image quickly changes when accepted that it was Dugger explains how a young boy’s again time to move on. dream of being a race car driver never After all, less than 1 perabated as he grew into adulthood. cent of people on the planet “I always knew I could race. It was get to race at the NASCAR something that came very natural to level. me,” he says. “I know I am fortunate,” But ability doesn’t always equal he says. opportunity, and Dugger says it can be Dugger found a different difficult to get into the sport without road because his supporters and a recognizable name or lineage when sponsors wouldn’t let him give generations of drivers come from the up. In 2010, he climbed back into same families. a race car for the Automobile Dugger is not a member of the club, Racing Club of America series and followed other directions in life. and a truck with the CampHe joined the U.S. Air Force and was bell Series. He set the in the service for five years, but the fastest passion to race could no longer be curbed. After he was discharged, he began pursuing his career on the track. From the beginning, he explains, he had “one goal of deviation.” If someone told him that racing was not for him because of a lack of talent, he would back off. “No one said that to me,” he says. Living in San Antonio, Texas, in 2001, he found his first sponsor, acquired his first racing truck

W

22

OKLAHOMA MAGAZINE | MARCH 2017

ARCA practice lap at Daytona that year. The momentum continued and in 2012 he got a six-race Campbell sponsorship, but he hasn’t raced trucks since then. At Talladega in 2015, he led all practice ARCA races, qualified 12th and finished fifth, which was 0.003 seconds behind the winner. This success then led to Kansas, where he finished 11th. In February 2016, he was back in Daytona; an early crash ended that race for him as well as the rest of the season. But his dreams for speed again lie with hopes of driving the ARCA series at Talladega in May. C.L. HARMON

PHOTO COURTESY RUSS DUGGER

The State

SPORTS

Oklahoma Magazine March 2017