Getting Up To Speed With…Mark Wauge
By Ben Deatherage
2014 is going to be a year of rebuilding for Mark Wauge. The Jacksonville, Oregon driver had nothing equipment-wise after parting ways with car owner John Skinner at the end of last season. But with the help of friends and family he was able to put a racing program together and plans to compete full-time at Cottage Grove Speedway in the upcoming 2014 campaign.
Through his impressive seventeen years of competing he has amassed over eighty feature wins as well as well as obtaining six track championships at the Southern Oregon Speedway. Add to his résumé a list of prestigious events he has captured includes the 2006 Lon Skinner Memorial at Southern Oregon, the 2012 Northwest Modified Nationals at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Washington, becoming a three-time (consecutive) winner of the Modified Mountain Challenge at Siskiyou Motor Speedway in Yreka, California, the Silver Bullet Shootout (also at Yreka) in 2012, and the 2012 Topless 100 at Sunset Speedway Park. 2013 would see Wauge win the Race of Champions event at the Cottage Grove Speedway Modified Nationals, the preliminary feature of the Two Day Shootout at Fernley 95A Speedway in Nevada, as well as a one-hundred lap feature at Willamette Speedway.
Coming from a strong motorcycle background Mark Wauge has started a new race team, Dog House Racing, and looks to continue his winning ways. We got a chance to talk to Mark about his history in the sport, what some of his greatest moments have been, and why he’s chosen the numbers he has over the years. Now let’s get up to speed with Mark Wauge.
Driver: Mark Wauge
Hometown: Jacksonville, Oregon
Occupation: Mortgage Banker
Years Racing: 17
Classification: IMCA Modified
Team: Dog House Racing
Chassis: Impressive Race Cars
Sponsors: Payroll Specialties Inc., Hoppes Construction, Schram Brothers Excavating, Rodgers Racing Engines, ABC Powedercoating, BSB Manufacturing, Impressive Race Cars
Special Thanks: Monte Bischoff, Travis Hoppes, Paula Gibson (Mother), Byron Anderson, Jerry Schram
BD: Well it looks like Cottage Grove will be seeing you a lot in 2014. This year should be pretty tough in the IMCA Modifieds?
MW: That’s my main reason why I wanted to run there all year this season. I’ve made a lot of friends up there and I’m looking forward to spending time with them too. I just want to thank all my friends and family for their support. Without them there’s are very good chance I wouldn’t be racing this year.
BD: For the longest time I watched you race you were #28M but in the last few seasons you changed it up to #1M. Is there a story behind those numbers?
MW: I was #1M when I was driving John Skinner’s car for the last three years. My daughter Maison had an idea since we’re kind of teaming up with Monte Bischoff and his #F1 car to change my number to #M1. The #28M was something I had since I was a kid. I was a huge motorcycle fan growing up and I really liked Kenny Roberts and Bruce Hannah who both had the #2 and Roberts at one time was also #8 so I put the two numbers together and the “M” always stood for Medford.
BD: How exactly did you get your start in racing?
MW: Well I had experienced a bad motorcycle crash at Albany and broke both legs and was in a wheelchair for about a month. I went to watch the races in Medford and saw that I would be way safer in a race car then on a motorcycle. So I ended up buying one off of Dave Duste Jr.
BD: Now some folks may not know this but your first championship was in a Winged Modified correct?
MW: Yes back in 2000 I believe but those things were kind of scary. They experimented with them one year and the wing definitely made them fast. I believe John Skinner had a Modified guy that would always put a wing on during an open comp show at the end of the year and he decided to make a whole class of them. They were only around for a little bit and once the track got sanctioned by UMP the wings were done away with.
BD: Of all your major achievements what would you say is one that sticks out the most?
MW: The 2006 Lon Skinner Memorial when it was $10,000 to win is probably the biggest one that sticks out. There were a lot of cars at that one and some very big names.
Another good one was the race during the fair at Yreka (Silver Bullet Shootout) in 2012. It was set up to only have eight cars there and was an invitational deal with four cars from Medford and four cars from Yreka. I passed Travis Peery on the last corner of the last lap to win it and I would say that race has put the biggest smile on my face so far.
Don't miss out on the 2014 Season Opener this Saturday April 12th at the Cottage Grove Speedway. We hope everyone can make it out to enjoy some wonderful racing at “The Grove”. For the latest information regarding Cottage Grove Speedway log on to www.cottagegrovespeedway.com.