After winning the Pro Stock Championship we decided to continue our racing adventure and build and race an SK modified. Chuck was as excited as we were and our first year proved to be one of the best with Chuck. We came in a mere 2 points behind Ted Christopher and made it to the big dance in Orlando. A trip with Chuck and Donna that is still special in our hearts.
We went to Mike Paquette and built a CD Chassis. Our association with Mike is a successful one and continues today. He has been there through many disasters always getting us back on the track, ready to go for the next Friday race!
And this was the start of many years with Mike Pettit of Pettit Motors. There is no question that the combo of Jean and Mike P has produced some of the best R & D and continuous improvement of a Chevy motor that dates back to the 1950s. We, yes, I am also a gear head when it comes to our motors, have never been afraid to try something new and spend the money on the dyno machine.
So, this is our first SK Car. We kept the same colors we have run from the beginning, a white car photographs well on the track. She was a beauty. Sign Pro created the graphics.
Chuck Docherty---a gentlemen driver with a solid reputation for getting to the front without destroying other drivers' cars.
Quick to laugh, compliment other drivers and smart! He and I shared many conversations that did not necessarily solve any of the world's problems, but we reached easy consensus. Every driver has his own food must haves...with Chuck, it was bananas. He loved to call me 'B' because that is what Jean calls me. The only time you knew he was angry....is when those Irish eyes turned a deeper shade of brown.
The Team - Allen Fournier, John Powers, Chris Goshea, Tony Pike, John "Doppler" Skill, Mike Pettit, Jean-Guy Poulin, Dennis Pike and Chuck. Not pictured - Dave Dal Zovo, Donna Docherty, Tim Lynch, Billy Docherty, Darrell Keane, Marcel Poulin. How do you recap all the good times we had together.
Yes, it was racing, but it was also laughter, sharing food each and every week, listening and caring about each others dramas and traumas, job issues, etc, a beer in the parking lot after the race, discussing the race over and over again, and figuring out what we needed to do next week, long hours at the garage, pizza and salad on Wednesday night, picnics, Christmas time together, Macaroni Grill, Fank Sinatra Show, Musicals and who can forget the comedian---"sheck it out"! It was a 5+year association that holds on to those true friendships to this day.
They all gave me a hard time about my camera.
The Characters---let's start with Tony. Big guy who would protect me from any harm. Strongest man outside an expensive gym! A true teddy bear with a heart of gold, a man of few words, very focused on what needed to be done. I love Tony, no airs about him.
Favorite memory---you know this is coming Tony---We went to see a comedy act and deliberately made sure Tony had front row seats. Jean and I had seen this guy in Florida. Wouldn' t you know first thing the comedian does is come over to Tony and want to touch his hair, spiked and stylish. Tony thought it was under his breath, but the whole room heard him say "if you touch my hair, I will break your xxxx arm!"
Next the Johns--John Powers and John "Doplar" Skill.
John Powers has been in racing for many, many years. He has been a member of Tom Fearn's crew in Late Models and he joined our team partly because he worked with Tim, Tony and John Skill, so it was a natural transition from Bertera's to Poulin Racing after 5pm! He is a quiet guy who enjoys the antics of others. Still single, we keep waiting for a wedding invite.
John "Doplar" Skill -- We nicknamed him Johnny Doplar because he was one of the first one of our team to get one of those newfangled phones and therefore was able to predict the weather and show us the clouds actually gathering. He also worked at Bertera's. He could crack Tony up with just a look and it was clear that it was not all work at that dealership. He and Sherry were raising two beautiful girls and just this year, 2015, became proud grandparents.
David Dal Zovo --- David joined us in our Pro Stock run with Chuck. At the time that we were building that team, Chuck asked that we invite Dave to join us as he had worked with Dave when he raced at Riverside Park. There are not enough ways to thank Dave for being with us through five team transitions. He has a unique understanding of all that is racing, gets along with everyone (except he picks on me mercilessly), and Dave never leaves the side of the car on Friday night. He and Jill have become our dearest friends and travel partners in adventures away from racing---and there have been many!
Typical Dave avoiding the camera...I have an entire page of these!!
This is David and Jean, (all cleaned up), Boston, 2012, great wine, laughter, perfect hotel...one of our "choosen city".
John Powers and John "Doppler" Skill. Hard to separate these two.
John Powers has been involved in racing for many years and continues to be a crew member on Tom Fearns Late Model. John is very quiet and loves the anitics of others, like Tony and The Doppler. Still single, we keep hoping for a wedding invite. There to the end every race night.
John "Doppler" Skill---aka, Johnny Doppler. You see John was one of the first person on our team to get one of those newfangled phones and he was then able to track incoming weather for Friday afternoon, so we baptized him. He, John Powers, Tony Pike and Tim Lynch all worked together at Berteras in West Springfield, so it was just a natural that they also all work together on our team. John and his wife Sherry were raising two teenage daughters at that time and in 2015 became new first time grandparents, and it is obvious that John is in love all over again!!
Does this not look like T R O U B L E!!!
Dennis Pike and Tim Lynch also helped this team to become one of the best we had. Plus, poor Tim had to endure many pranks by Donna who would call the Service Department under assumed names.
There is work to be done at the track on any given night and Jean is always tinkering and tightening and cleaning along with the others.
Our Trailer/Hauler is our home on Friday nights. There is nothing more pleasant than "breaking bread" with friends. It is also a place of serious discussions, bad jokes, lots of laughter, good food, birthday celebrations and shelter from the rain. We are blessed always to be surrounded by friends (and competitors) sharing our home. No one enjoyed that atmosphere more than Marcel, calling every Thursday night to find out what was on the menu and loving the banter on Friday.
Waiting for Fireworks to end when you are the last division was never too popular!
We scored many wins with Chuck, both at Stafford and Thompson, and he always knew what to say in the Winners Circle. Never criticized other drivers. Loved his team and the Pettit power that propelled him.
We spent 6 years with Chuck, first in the Pro Stock and then the SK. Good years. There came a time when family and the commitments that one has to make, made for a difficult decision. Donna, always, always supported Chuck's racing, from the time they fell in love, to the very last race. She was a full time nursing student, they had four beautiful kids who all played sports, spread in every direction in the greater Springfield area, Chuck decided it was time to walk away from a sport he loved and see his kids through school and the activities they loved. We enjoyed every year, Chuck and Donna and their kids and continue to think of them as good friends and still swap racing stories when we see them. Sean their oldest, he's the one with the (bad) Yankees shirt, gets married in September 2015 and we remember him as a four year old playing with all his race cars at Riverside, then Stafford. Time goes by quickly but the memories alway remember linger.
This is a photo of the car (that I took) at Chuck's last race, the Fall Final and we won.
Chuck's last interview in Victory Lane and a very emotional time, I still get teary just looking at the photos. He was, and still is, my favorite driver. Respected and loved by fellow drivers, his reputation still stands as an outstanding driver. Say the name "Chuck Docherty" and you get the same reaction---"Man he was good".
People ask us why we race. Well, I race because it makes him happy. And, if he is happy, I am too. But really, if you have scrolled through this era of Poulin Racing, you must get the sense, that it not only keeps us busy, but it keeps us young and tired! Spring Sizzler time brings on new adventures, each team has brought their own unique qualities and character. The Fall Finals simply mean that Jean has my ear as to what he is planning for the next season!
One of my favorite shots of Chuck. He had just gotten out of the car after his very first practice and was saying "Jean, I think I'm gonna like this!" I've always felt lucky to have my camera at the ready!!
In May of 2004, Donna acheived her goal and dream and became a Nurse. If the Docherty schedule was busy before, it became even crazier! Two amazing parents splitting their days, he worked days, she worked nights in order to be there for their kids!
When we traveled during race season, the Crew Members were responsible for writing the race reports. I came across these while searching.
Can't be sure, but I think this was Johnny Doppler's Report
This has to be John Powers Report
Came across this treasure trove of photos misplaced in a file. These are from 2004 Season, fans, food and more.
Things did not always go well!
Don't you love catching people with a mouthful!!!
See more photos at end of page.....
Located this article (May, 2004), by John Powers, in a miscellaneous file, thought it was worth adding. Also added some photos from the Chicago trip mentioned. After New York City, Chicago is one of our favorite!
The next three photos are from 2001 Season