Wednesday, June 19, 2024

23 XI Racing and McDonalds Racing Mobile Marketing directors from the County

Episode 421

February 26, 2023

Maine man on the NASCAR Show circuit again in 2023

Stephen Doody and his wife Becky will once again in 2023 be the Mobile Marketing Managers (MMM) for the 23XI McDonalds Racing Team. The 2022 season was the first season with the McDonalds program for the Washburn natives. Stephen has served several seasons on the show car circuit with multiple NASCAR and IndyCar programs. He is one of the most sought-after Mobile Marketing Managers in the industry.

Recently Doody messaged me and brought me up-to-date on the 2023 plans including his schedule. Doody mentioned, “Events this season are much less than last year’s as we wanted bigger events with more than just a show car present such as live radio as well as other McDonald vendors to make more of a block party atmosphere.”

McDonalds will be the primary sponsor on the 23XI team car driven by Bubba Wallace at 13 different race tracks this season. The Daytona 500 was the first of the 2023 season.

“Becky and I will fly home between events to spend time with family. Chicago will be busy week as it is McDonalds headquarters. We will be hosting events all week.  Other than that, it’s only a Friday show on race weekend.”

Stephan Doody, Washburn, will be continuing work for the 23XI race team as the Mobile Marketing Manager for the Bubba Wallace McDonald’s car. (Stephen Doody photo)

The latest Nex-Gen Cup car used at Atlanta in 2022 will be on the show car circuit for the 2023 season and will be responsibility of County man Stephen Doody accompanied by his wife Becky. Doody remarked that it is the best show car he has ever had.  (Stephen Doody photo)

Extreme gravity racing, Bodrodz

While growing up, I dreamed about racing a Soap Box Derby car, however, no such venues were around in northern Maine and I am unsure if we would have been able to afford one if a race did exist closer to home. The closest we got to gravity racing was hanging on for dear life while riding Dana Cushman’s bobsled on the road in front of my Grimes Mill Road.

Soap Box Derby came to Houlton first on the city street, then on a wonderful purpose-built Derby Hill. My son Mike was able to compete for two seasons in Houlton and at a track in Caribou next to the old Teague Park school.

With gravity racing pushed back into the depths within my brain, it was brought to the fore one day as my FFA students and I were exploring the old Crosby Lab at UMaine Orono while we were in town for the FFA State Convention.

I knew that Crosby Lab typically had multiple student projects which appealed to the hands-on nature of many of my students. It was during one of those “What is in Crosby Hall this year” adventures when we noticed the car below.

Side view of Gravity Racer built by UMaine Orono engineering students for competition in Quebec in 2008 and 2009. The purpose-built racer featured spacesaver spare tires and rims since weight was not a major concern in this class of gravity racers. Little did my students and I know that we would be interacting with those same UMO engineers when they formed the UMO Formula SAE team. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Many components of the UMO Gravity Racer utilized the same fabrication techniques and skills that the engineers would need to put together their Formula SAE racer. My students and I had the privilege to not only meet with them in technical sessions but also fabricated several components in both seasons of Formula SAE competition. (HTF Motorsports photo)

Fast forward to December 2022 when I noticed a post with a sleek looking car and headlines that yelled “Record setting gravity racer”. I had to peek at what in the world was going on.

I dug into the story of Doug Anderson from Fayetteville, Georgia. Doug and a group of friends were building gravity powered racers capable of setting records of 100 + mph in Quebec probably at the same hill that the UMO student engineers competed at. I struck up a Facebook conversation with Doug. He referred me to an article about these former luge racers in Hagerty Media which I have link at end of this segment.

Doug graciously allowed me to use the information on his website in this episode which follows:

Doug Anderson of Atlanta, Georgia was a long-time welder and aircraft technician for Delta Air Lines, Anderson had been involved in nitro funny cars, drag hydroplanes, and numerous circle track cars with multiple first-place finishes.

While searching the fledgling internet for extreme sports, Anderson happened upon Ed Bryant and his street luge. Bryant, a cabinet maker living in northwest Atlanta was an avid luge rider who competed in numerous National Street Luge Association (NSLA) events and the Gravity Games. Bryant extended an invitation to try it and Anderson jumped at the opportunity.

Anderson, stoked after building the first street luge, founded Bodrodz Land Luge Workz in late 1998. Hot rods for your body, hence the name Bodrodz. Anderson and Bryant would collaborate on different designs and techniques to refine Bryant’s pan-based street luge design which Bodrodz would become famous for.

Doug Anderson’s street luge that started his interest in gravity racing and led to the establishment of Bodrodz Land Luge Workz. (Doug Anderson photo)

Their high-performance designs would go on to achieve much success, winning races and achieving some incredible high-speed records. Anderson gives credit to Ed Bryant for being a large part of Bodrodz history. “Without Ed Bryant’s involvement and input, Bodrodz would not be what it is today,” said Anderson.

Al Braun was involved in Bodrodz since its inception in 1998. Anderson, Braun, and Bryant would run the mountain roads of the southeast. Anderson and Braun would share the Bryant sled until Anderson finished the first of his sleds, one of many.

Anderson and Bryant’s paths would cross once again in 2010.  Talk of the West Coast gravity car scene came up and the two were back at it again, designing and building two Bodrodz gravity cars.  This time the machines would have brake pedals and a steering wheel, both men now in their 50’s, this made a lot more sense.

Over the next few years, the two had no idea they would be reaching speeds in the mid 80’s.  Both speed junkies, this was much to their liking.  Anderson’s car, the Atomic Splinter would be the first Bodrodz gravity car to break the 80-mph barrier.  Bryant, piloting the Bodrodz Bullet, would do the same not much later.

The Atomic Splinter with builder/driver Doug Anderson in 2013. (Doug Anderson photo)

Late 2012 saw a new Bodrodz member, Jason Camp would come on board.  Jason played an indispensable roll in keeping Anderson and Bryant rolling.  Anderson would race in three East Coast Challenges with a good showing in 2013.

In 2014, Anderson and Bryant would enter the Bodrodz Ultimate GPS Speed Challenge. Anderson would win with the top speed of the event followed by Bryant and Schoettler.

In the fall of 2014, Ed Bryant would depart from BXGR.  Anderson and Camp would now carry the torch for Bodrodz.  Anderson would have good friend, Danny Bern of the S.U.C.K.E.R. group out of Southern California, drive the Atomic Splinter in the 2014 East Coast Challenge.  Because of poor roll off starts, both cars made dismal showings.

As of 2015, Anderson and Camp were still running the mountain roads looking for the elusive MPH.  Great news, in the summer of 2015, Scott “Scootball” Holsenback is back!  He would rejoin the Bodrodz team and would help Anderson and Camp with the new Bodrodz gravity project.  Holsenback would take up residence in the cockpit of the Bodrodz Bullet.  Bodrodz Xtreme Gravity Racing (BXGR) rolls on!

In the fall of 2015, Bodrodz Jason Camp and Doug Anderson with the Atomic Splinter headed to Pennsylvania for Fran Honeywell’s East Coast Challenge.  The Splinter would run SuperCar class with Anderson piloting.  A class of three, Anderson would finish 2nd behind Donnie Schoettler from California and ahead of Andy Ash from the United Kingdom.  The car did perform better than last year and more lessons learned.

The summer of 2016 great news!  “Fast Donnie” Schoettler of Huntington Beach, California would join the group and drive under the Bodrodz banner.  The team was more than ecstatic to have this legendary gravity car pilot as a new team member.

“Fast Donnie” would represent Bodrodz Xtreme Gravity Racing at the 2016 L’Ultime Descente, a world class gravity speed racing event held in Quebec, Canada.  Schoettler would crush the existing Guinness world record held by UK’s Guy Martin and would become the first gravity car to break thru the elusive 100 mph barrier while running under the Guinness rules!

Fast Donnie with his triple digit run would also become the second member to join the WGSA Century Club!  This exclusive club consisted of individuals who had been officially clocked over 100 mph in wheeled gravity speed racing history.

Anderson and Holsenback at the 2016 L’Ultime Descente would run respectable.  Holsenback fought the ill handling Bullet to a WGSA 200 Limited world record and Anderson could only wring low 90’s passes out of the Atomic Splinter.  Respectable, but both wanted to go faster.

Spring of 2017, Anderson, now realizing his two current road racing gravity cars were just punching too big of a hole in the air, knew it would take a new sleeker car build to go faster and punch thru the 100-mph barrier.  Anderson designed a gravity streamliner for the role.

The buck used to create the Atomic Scalpel streamliner gravity racer body. The racer was built in the garage. (Doug Anderson photo)

Bodrodz Fast Donnie had also purchased another GF1 car and was in the process of making major mods to it to up his record he had just set in 2016.   Anderson and teammate Jason “the Chief” Camp would build thru the summer months the Bodrodz Atomic Scalpel, a top gravity streamliner.

Holsenback would pilot the new streamliner.  Halfway thru the summer, Anderson and Camp would start a second car for Anderson to drive and go after an open wheel gravity car record.  The thrash was on.  They knew it was going to be tight to make schedule and get both cars to the 2017 L’Ultime Descente hill on time.

Tragedy struck in late summer; Scott Holsenback is involved in an accident that leaves him with a serious eye injury and would not be able to pilot the new streamliner.  Anderson would now fill the vacancy in the Scalpel cockpit.

Now BXGR was in need of a driver for the open wheeler, the Atomic Sliver.  The first choice was obvious, Bodrodz UK teammate, Andy Ash.  Andy jumped at the opportunity and the race was on.  Both cars were literally finished up a day before Anderson and Camp would load the cars and head to Canada.  The day before leaving a hurricane would come thru and blow out the lights.  They would finish up the details and load the cars in the dark with light from flashlights and camping lanterns.

Arriving at Baie-Saint Paul, the team was now thrashing, doing last minute prep and fitting the cars to the drivers the final day before the speed challenge.  All three cars would go to the hill completely untested and the pilots with zero seat time.  The hard work by the dedicated Bodrodz team would pay off.  The three cars made 19 laps all together without a single mechanical issue.

The 2017 L’Ultime Descente weekend would prove to be the best ever for the Bodrodz Xtreme Gravity Racing team.  Three new WGSA world records, one run posted was the highest speed ever recorded for a wheeled gravity vehicle, and produced a new member into the WGSA Century Club.

At the 2017 L’Ultime Descente in Les Eboulements, Quebec where the Atomic Scalpel set new world record 101.98 mph. This photo is of the team where three different Bodrodz cars are represented. Left to right: Andy Ash, Sliver pilot, Jason Camp, Scalpel crew chief, Doug Anderson, Scalpel pilot, Donnie Schoettler, Grey Ghost pilot, Jono Searby, Silver and Ghost crew, Graham Thompson, Silver and Ghost crew, Chris Schafer, Scalpel crew, and John Nichols, Scalpel crew and team photographer. (John Nichols photo)

Andy Ash, driving the Bodrodz Atomic Sliver, would set the new WGSA 200 Limited OW gravity car record at 147.94 km/h 91.92 mph.  Quite an accomplishment for never seeing the Sliver before let alone driving a car that had never rolled down a hill!

Fast Donnie in his brand-new car, the Grey Ghost, with zero seat time also, would reset his 2016 200 Limited CW record posting a speed of 160.00 km/h 99.41 mph for a new WGSA world record.

Atomic Scalpel with body removed on display at Speedway Motors Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska. Left to right: Ave Pickering, museum accessions, Brian Freyermuth, friend and photobomber, Doug Anderson, Tim Matthews, museum curator, and Jason Camp.. “Our car has a mild steel belly pan to smooth under car air flow and to keep the center of gravity low,” said Robertson. “The structural space frame consists of chrome-moly steel tubing with titanium used in critical areas. The four tires are high-durometer pneumatic designs inflated to high pressure to minimize rolling resistance. Steering is by handle bars guiding the front wheels and there’s a disc brake at each corner for slowing in conjunction with a custom Deist-brand drag chute. The two-piece body with a hinged section for access to the cockpit is molded foam-cored composite material. The body is configured to tightly wrap my 5’8”, 190-pound build, its maximum width is 31 inches over a 58 inch wheelbase. That yields a 520 square-inch frontal area; lacking wind tunnel testing, my guess for the drag coefficient is 0.175.” (Doug Robertson Bodrodz photo)

Doug Anderson would be the first WGSA gravity car officially clocked over 100 mph!  Anderson would pilot the Bodrodz Atomic Scalpel to a new WGSA top gravity streamliner record with a 164.13 km/h 101.98 mph pass!  He would take top speed honors of this event and became the pilot of the fastest wheeled gravity vehicle in history!  Anderson would also become the 7th member to join the exclusive WGSA Century Club with his 100+ mph pass.  It was a great race weekend for Team Bodrodz!

From 2017, the next three years would be uneventful for BXGR.  The team had hopes the Canadian event would happen again however it never came to fruition.
Now in 2023, the team still has hopes of running a big number with a brand-new top gravity streamliner. Also, Ed Bryant is back on board and in the process of re-creating the luge streamliner he rode to the mid 90-mph range in 2001.  2023 should be a very interesting year for Bodrodz Xtreme Gravity Racing.

The Atomic Scalpel was donated to the American Museum of Speed in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Excellent article with photos of the Atomic Scalpel by Don Sherman, Hagerty Media.

Do you want to see what it takes to make a 1000 horsepower Subaru

Baxley Speed Shop, Windham, Maine, video showing their 2006 STI drag car. Turn up the volume!

Let’s go racing,

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)