Jack Doyle was born in 1935 and like a lot of fellow racers, became interested in cars and racing at an early age. Jack was involved with the sport since the early 1950s as a driver, a team owner, and the longtime General Manger of Epping, New Hampshire’s New
After graduating from high school, Jack entered an apprenticeship program to become an electrician. It was during his school years that he became intrigued by the automobile and began to follow the short track racing at the local tracks. At the same time, the drag racing and car club craze was entering New England. Jack joined two local car clubs, the Road Aces and the High Winders, a move that helped shape his future. His involvement in the car clubs gave him an understanding of not only building hot rods. It also helped him understand the need for channeling enthusiasm into an arena where it could be done safely. He and some of his fellow enthusiast formed the New England Hot Rod Council to add support for the growing sport within the region.
In 1953 Jack built his first drag racing car, 1942 Plymouth sedan powered by Oldsmobile “Rocket” V-8. While this car was very competitive and provided Jack with that “sweet feeling of victory” from its many victories, Jack was a strong competitor and soon built his first pure dragster. Classed as a “Competition Coupe” it used a tiny Vespa 400 car body shell grafted onto a dragster style tubular chassis with a supercharged 392 cubic inch Chrysler Hemi on gas. His longtime friend, Dick Pratt, said the car was “pretty homely” but it was very competitive. The Vespa coupe was followed with a Fiat body mounted on a tube frame and with another 392 cubic inch supercharged Chrysler Hemi on gas for power. After the entire class was eliminated in 1971, Jack moved on. This time with a dragster that had the same Chrysler Hemi configuration for power which was dubbed “The Slider”.
While Jack enjoyed both building and driving, he was also open to allow other drivers to become involved in testing their skills. In 1968, with his friend, Don Roberts, in the driver seat the pair won a number of races with the AHRA Nationals at Long Island Raceway in Westhampton, New York being their crowning win of the season. Between his drivers Don Roberts and Mark Connelly, Jack posted an enviable winning score at his home track New England Dragway of 80%.
While Jack was still very involved in the competition side of drag racing in 1965, he turned a major portion of his efforts to the development of New England Dragway. With Jack running the actual construction of the track that commenced in 1965 he and his crew were able to complete the construction phase in 1966. Upon completion of the track its Board of Directors made Jack the track manager. Due to the time required by his new position and the top gas dragster class was eventually eliminated Jack retired from active competition. Jack stated, “I was the track manager, I had a young family to take care of and I just could not justify being a racer, with the cost and uncertainties. Besides the race track kept me fully occupied and I like the job”.
The original goal of in NEHRC was to establish a permanent track in New England. So, with the completion of New England Dragway and the growth of drag racing in the region the organization was disbanded. Jack has said, “The participating clubs in the counsel became shareholders in the new track and that continues to this day. Although some of the clubs have disbanded their shares were absorbed by the individual members and one of the things that pleases me today is the fact that New England Dragway remains one of the few, if not the only, club-built tracks still in operation today”.
Jack was the track manager from 1975 until 1976, when then, General Manager Sy Sidebotham stepped down. Jack assumed the General Managers role until 1982. He stepped away to take a position as a licensed master electrician working on major construction projects such as high-rise buildings and electrical generating plants (conventional and nuclear).
Today Jack still continues his involvement with racing and was a member of the building committee for the new Northeast Motorsports Museum, which opened at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire at the end of 2016. There are many in the New England drag racing community who consider Jack Doyle to be the “Godfather of New England drag racing”.
Jack and his wife Mabel live in Wakefield, New Hampshire surrounded by his four children (with late wife Barbara) and five stepchildren. His three sons have all raced at New England Dragway on motorcycles. Jack states, “I really enjoy seeing them race and really enjoyed it when one of them one”.