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Local teacher races at Republic raceway


by Al Camp, The Chronicle

A reformed drag racer is becoming quite the terror at Republic’s Eagle Track.

Steve Hood, who teaches automotive classes and coaches the wrestling team at Lake Roosevelt High School, added another first-place trophy racing his four-cylinder Ford Mustang.

“It’s always a good deal when you win,” Hood said. “I’ve been racing up there for quite a while.”

Hood, 55, initially got his taste for speed drag racing a 1968 Chevrolet Nova.

“I got my arms twisted helping one of my automotive students (Leon Desautel) go up and race,” Hood said. “I’d been drag racing before that, but the whole going in a circle and beating the car up did not appeal to me very much.”

Talked into taking a few laps, Hood squeezed into a car and took to the track south of Republic.

“I kind of caught the bug,” Hood said, who’s won many trophies since.

Hood created his own car for the 2001 season. Although Desautel would win the title when Hood started, the Raider teacher would win three overall titles in the ensuing years.

He’s also raced for four years on the half-mile track at old Spokane Raceway Park.

Over the years he’s built several race cars, but they’ve all been raced in the Fever Four class for four-cylinder engines.

He currently campaigns in a 1983 Mustang.

His students at Lake Roosevelt have built several race engines as part of their classes. One of those won the modified title at Republic last year.

“It is not uncommon to see students in Mr. Hood’s class working on body work, painting, or engine repair,” Lake Roosevelt Principal Brad Wilson said. “And loving every second of it.”

“Building engines kind of fits right into the curriculum,” Hood said of his classes.

Hood didn’t expect to win the overall title at Republic this year.

“I’m going to miss too many races to win,” he said. “I enjoy going up to Republic. I enjoy the people, enjoy the competition. It’s a chance to drive fast under somewhat controlled conditions.”

Hood missed the May 12 race of champions because he was attending a wrestling meet in Centralia.

(This story was first published in the Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle and is reprinted here by permission.)

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