A Hell of a Good Year - Engine Builder Magazine

A Hell of a Good Year

The folks at Dougans Racing Engines won a lot in 2015. A banner year, according to Ray Field, owner of Dougans. It was this success coupled with the shop’s rich history that helped Dougans’ nomination get selected as the 2015 Performance Engine Builder of the Year, sponsored by Speed-Pro POWERFORGED Pistons and Engine Builder magazine.

IMG_1727
Members of Federal-Mogul (Speed-Pro), Dougans Racing Engines and Engine Builder magazine.

The folks at Dougans Racing Engines won a lot in 2015. Between the Best in The Desert series and the SCORE Racing series, both of which are trophy truck racing, Dougans won three races in each series and had podium finishes at every single race. “It was a banner year,” says Ray Field, owner of Dougans Racing Engines in Riverside, CA. It was this success coupled with the shop’s rich history that helped Dougans’ nomination get selected as the 2015 Performance Engine Builder of the Year, sponsored by Speed-Pro POWERFORGED Pistons and Engine Builder magazine.

Ray and some of his Dougans team came to Indianapolis this past December to take in the 2015 PRI Show and accept their reward; $1,000, an Apple iPad and a recognition wall plaque, as well as four Speed-Pro POWERFORGED Piston counter stools, custom Speed-Pro POWERFORGED Piston jackets for all shop employees, mechanics’ gloves for all shop employees, special customer marketing packs with Speed-Pro branded promotional giveaway items for his customers and a product voucher for $2,500 worth of Speed-Pro POWERFORGED Pistons.

Engine Builder editor Doug Kaufman (left) with the 2015 Performance Engine Builder of the Year Ray Field.
Engine Builder editor Doug Kaufman (left) with the 2015 Performance Engine Builder of the Year Ray Field.

“To me, being recognized for all the hard work that everyone at our shop has done over the years, frankly, is not only appreciated, I never thought we would be considered in this conversation,” Field says. “It shows a commitment by the entire network of people who work at our shop, and we have to thank all of the people who have helped us through the years and supported us. It means a lot to us.”

The award meant a lot to everyone at Dougans Racing Engines, and the team enjoyed a weekend in an unseasonably warm Indy.

“It was wonderful the way you folks at Engine Builder and Speed-Pro treated us,” he says. “It was one of the most wonderful weekends I’ve ever had.”

Doug Kaufman (left) with second place winner Matt Dickmeyer of Dickmeyer Automotive in South Whitley, IN.
Doug Kaufman (left) with second place winner Matt Dickmeyer of Dickmeyer Automotive in South Whitley, IN.

In addition to announcing the 2015 winner, Engine Builder and Speed-Pro representatives recognized the second and third place finalists during a press conference at PRI. Coming in second for the second time in three years was Matt Dickmeyer of Dickmeyer Automotive in South Whitley, IN, and in third place was Bruce Yackey of Greeley Automotive in Greeley, CO. Second and third place winners were also given a prize package.

IMG_1713
Doug Kaufman (left) and Mike Yackey of Greeley Automotive Machine in Greeley, CO.

While Field and some of his team got to escape from their otherwise busy schedules that weekend in December, winning the award is certainly not going to their heads.

“Frankly, this will change nothing,” Field says. “To get to where we are you have to push and push and push. You cannot ever sit still. You cannot assume that the product you’re putting out is good enough. You have to push to become a better company, better people, better products, and better track support or someone will pass you up. The award was certainly a feather in our cap, and it feels great to be recognized, but the focus has not and will not change, because I believe that’s what’s gotten us here.”

The history of Dougans starts with Terry Dougan founding the business in 1980. Ray started with the company that same year as a 16-year-old teardown and cleanup kid, sweeping floors and scraping gaskets.

“I was heavily involved in auto shop as a freshman and sophomore in high school, and at that point I started at Dougans on a work program through school,” Field says. “Over the next three decades I have been with Dougans.”

Dougan Engines_65

In 1998 Terry Dougan passed away from cancer. His wife Donna and daughter Tara Dougan asked Ray to manage the business for them.

“It was truly my calling,” he says. “At that time we were involved in many different styles of racing, stock cars, drag boats, drag cars, also lots of street cars and street rods.”

In April 2003, Ray and his wife bought the business from the Dougan family. It wasn’t until 2005 that the shop built its first Trophy Truck engine.

“Since that time we have grown our presence in off-road tremendously,” he says. “Today, between the SCORE series and the Best in The Desert series, we build, maintain and track support as many as 30 to 40 Trophy Truck teams.”

Dougans’ presence at the racetrack, or course, is how the does business besides its work in the shop.

“In my opinion you have to satisfy one customer at a time,” Field says. “You have to meet each customers’ needs one at a time. Word of mouth is everything.”

It’s not too surprising that Dougans only focuses on Trophy Truck engines these days. The shop is successful at it, and these engines are extremely demanding.

“These are very expensive engines that require a lot of detail,” he says. “We provide a complete engine package – the engine, electronics, dyno testing, chassis dyno testing, track testing, support, and racetrack support. You have to do as complete of a job as you can. We feel like this is one of the toughest engines to build in the world. It was always a level of engine building that we wanted to master and excel in.”

Unlike any other form of racing, Field says the closest thing to Trophy Truck racing would be the 24 Hours of Daytona or Sebring or something along those lines.

Dougan Engines_13

“And frankly, those cars weigh 3,000 lbs. or less and they do not have tires that come on and off the ground with impact that loads and unloads the engines in a very, very distinct manner,” Field says. “So the off-road stuff has to be stronger and more resilient, in my opinion, than any other form of racing. That is what turns me on about it. It’s the small details that make the difference.”

Anybody can buy the same parts that Dougans uses in these engines, but we can’t all be race-winning engine builders by only doing that much.

“What has to happen is we take those parts and quality control check them, modify them, finish machine them and go through a very stringent process of QC, which allows us to control the quality of the parts in our engines,” he says. “That is the key. You cannot assume any parts or any part of an engine build is correct unless you check it or do it.”

Despite all the different disciplines of engine building Ray has been involved in, today, Trophy Truck engines and racing are his passion. Not only is it due to the engines but also the people he spends 20-25 weekends a year with.

“It’s the relationships that you build, the camaraderie that you build and being in the thick of it makes us better at what we do and keeps us continually learning,” he says.

Speaking of learning, Field wants to make 2016 as successful or more so than 2015. His plan is to improve on existing products and is in the process of building two new engine combinations that will be released sometime in 2016 for trophy trucks.

ron-whitton-baja-1000-mad-media-03

“Our main focus is to provide the same quality and products or better than we did last year,” he says. “Already this year we raced in the Parker 425 on February 5. In trophy truck and overall, we got first, second, third and fourth. We won trophy truck and class one and had seven trucks in the top 10.”

Dougans usually has somewhere between 10 and 20 trophy trucks at a race with its engines.

“In one series a truck travels 2,000 miles,” Field says. “If you have 10 trucks, you’ve gone 20,000 miles. And with 20 trucks, you’ve gone 40,000 miles. It’s not uncommon for us to put on 60,000 race miles a year, which means you learn stuff whether it’s right or wrong. That’s a fortunate position we’re in is that we learn things faster and continue development faster.

“You just work hard, work hard and work hard, and things will progress. The diversity of what we’ve learned over the years has allowed us to become better at what we do today.”

Stay tuned to the pages of Engine Builder for more information about the 2016 Performance Engine Builder of the Year award.

You May Also Like

Shop Solutions May 2024

Those who submit Shop Solutions that are published are awarded a prepaid $100 Visa gift card. Submit your Shop Solution at [email protected].

Engine Builder and Engine Pro present Shop Solutions in each issue of Engine Builder Magazine and at enginebuildermag.com to provide machine shop owners and engine technicians the opportunity to share their knowledge to benefit the entire industry and their own shops. Those who submit Shop Solutions that are published are awarded a prepaid $100 Visa gift card. Submit your Shop Solution at [email protected]. You must include your name, shop name, shop address and shop telephone number. Submitted Shop Solutions not published will be kept on file and reevaluated for each month’s new entries.

Holley’s Latest LS Engine Giveaway

Holley has partnered with high-performance engine builder Prestige Motorsports for its latest giveaway LS engine.

The Road to AAPEX Season 2, Ep 8

The innovation of the Lincoln Highway wasn’t just about building roads—it was about putting them on the map. The Wyoming Historical Society notes that the abandoned routes laid down by the Union Pacific railroad from 1867 to 1869 were often the best, and sometimes the only, east-west path available when developing the Lincoln Highway. In fact,

The Road to AAPEX Season 2, Ep 7

Rolling through Nebraska, Babcox Media’s Joe Keene meets kindred spirits as he drives the rare Lincoln Blackwood he refurbished for his journey to AAPEX. Along the way, he meets a family traveling the Lincoln Highway section by section, taking in sights such as the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument and the Classic Car Collection,

The Road to AAPEX Season 2, Ep 6

It’s the unexpected moments that make a trip memorable. Babcox Media’s Joe Keene, an ASE-certified technician who fixed a rare Lincoln Blackwood, enters Iowa on his drive to AAPEX and discovers the charm of small-town America along the Lincoln Highway. A standout spot is the Lincoln Highway Hotel. Related Articles – The Road to AAPEX

Other Posts

Shop Solutions April 2024

Shop Solutions provide machine shop owners and engine technicians the opportunity to share their knowledge to benefit the entire industry and their own shops.

A Different Dyno Design

The dyno is a valuable tool, so it’s nice when an engine builder feels confident in the setup of it. Enter the shipping container engine dyno design.

Properties of Pistons

Pistons are perhaps one of the more sophisticated chunks of metal in the picture. Here’s what you should know.

A New Take on the Rotary Engine

What if we could design a new rotary engine that addresses certain limitations without violating the laws of physics? This is what LiquidPiston has been working at for over a decade.