The wheel to win

Franklin Central Senior Jack Dossey III balances school, machining internship and auto racing

By Cleveland Dietz II

*Photo by Cleveland Dietz II: Jack Dossey III has spent nearly 11 years in racing after school.

At 18 years old, one Franklin Central High School student already has almost 11 years of experience as a racecar drive.

Jack Dossey III began racing competitively when he was 7 years old. He had been training with his dad in the driveway and parking lots for four years. Dossey said his dad started racing when he was young, too, but he was on dirt bikes.

Dossey, a third-generation racecar driver, has raced in a variety of cars during the past 11 years. He began in FasKarts and now races in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour, though he intends to race some courses in the ARCA/CRA Super Series this season.

“It’s all basically got the same concept to it,” he said. “You want to go out, you want to keep the wheels on it, you want to win. You want to have fun. That’s the main thing.”

Beside racing on the weekends, Dossey works 22 hours a week as a machining intern at Burris Engineering Monday through Thursday. He wakes up at 5 a.m. to work there from 5:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. That will continue until he graduates later this month. In the afternoon, he takes English, government and science classes. Then he spends the evening working on racecars or his truck.

“It’s kind of a juggle every day,” he laughed. “I set a lot of reminders on my phone. A lot of it’s just routine, though.”

*Photo courtesy KelseyJoPhotography

Dossey said he learned the value of setting a schedule, but remaining flexible, from watching his parents. They showed him how to juggle by running their business – Hart’s Auto Service – and doing what it took to make sure they could provide for the family.

“If your schedule doesn’t work out, you can make it work,” he said. “But, pretty much, that kind of showed me that you need to make a schedule at the same time and kind of stick to it, even though it doesn’t always work out.”

Dossey said racing has helped develop his patience and perseverance. The body on the type of car he drives now is not durable. Any bump could throw the car out of whack and derail the race. He has to be cautious so he can race hard during the last quarter of the race. Being patient and driving smart is important. Not giving up is important, too.

“It doesn’t matter where you start out,” Dossey said. “You can always finish better. That’s the way I look at things.”

Though Dossey intends to begin working full-time as a machinist after he graduates, he said his big dream is to become a NASCAR driver. Sometimes, he gets a taste of NASCAR in the CRA All-Star Series. In January, during his first race this year, he started across from retired NASCAR driver Sterling Marlin at the Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, Ga.

*Photo courtesy KelseyJoPhotography

“It’s like I could repay my parents for everything that they’ve done and show them that all their hard work and all my crew and my whole family’s hard work has actually paid off and we’ve actually achieved our goal,” he said. “That would just be the best feeling in the world to me because, I mean, hardly any drivers make it. Especially one that’s a low-budget team like us.”

Dossey has found a lot of success during the last few years, including winning rookie of the year in the Anderson Speedway MEP Late Model division, CRA Sportsman division, and, last year, the CRA All-Stars division. He has also won two track championships at Anderson Speedway.

“This year, we’re going for the big title,” he said. “We’re going for a championship in the CRA All-Stars.”

In April, he finished 20th after starting 31st in the Southern Super Series North South Super Late Model Challenge at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn. He finished 5th the SpeedFest 125 in January at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, Ga.

Dossey will race at Anderson Speedway in the ARCA/CRA Super Series Koorsen Fire & Security 125 on May 6 and Baer Field Motorsports Park in Ft. Wayne in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Spring Breakout 100 on May 7.