Locke is a second generation driver at Oswego, as his father Jeff has raced both Oswego and Winged Supermodifieds at the Speedway. His brother Ryan also has plans to join the big block class as a weekly entrant this season, driving for his grandfather Ken Locke.
Chase said his grandfather’s love for Oswego, and his decision to bring the big block car to the track weekly, heavily influenced him and Jeff to do the same with the Locke Crane Services 350 Super.
“After how well we did at Oswego last year, we thought it was a good decision for us to give a full season a try this year,” Locke explained. “My Grandpa had a lot to do with it. He loves it at Oswego Speedway and wants to race the big block there with Ryan every week so that was a big part of it.”
Despite only four starts, Chase quickly caught the eye of Oswego fans at just 15 years old last season. Showing tremendous speed right out of the gate, Locke etched his name into Oswego's history books as the youngest driver of all-time to earn a podium finish in a Supermodified.
That historic second place finish to Jeffrey Battle came in Locke’s first career start at the Steel Palace, which also just so happened to be on Classic Weekend - and Chase’s success did not stop there.
After turning heads in the Spring Classic, Locke followed that up with a heat race win and an outstanding sequence of second, second, and third place finishes in a row, plus another third on Fall Classic Saturday driving the Seymour Racing NEMA Lite.
“I thought last year went well for the first time,” Locke said. “Obviously we could have done a bit better, but seeing it was the first time out there, I think that it was a good year. We had help from a few guys asking around, but for the most part it was just Dad and I figuring things out. The day before the races we went for Friday test sessions and that helped us a lot in learning the track and finding some speed.”
Prior to making the jump to the 350 Super class in 2021, Locke’s open wheel experience stems from several years racing for his family on the NEMA Lite tour from 2018 through 2020.
Chase’s NEMA Lite stint brought his first career win in the Midget ranks, as he drove the No. 88 machine to Lee USA Speedway victory lane in September of 2020.
Backing up his first NEMA checkers, which came at a mere 14 years of age, Chase would then notch his first ever 350 Supermodified victory by the midway point of his first season, winning at Star Speedway’s Jen Garland Memorial event in June of last year.
Locke continued to race the full season at the Epping, NH quarter mile last year, with numerous top 10 finishes, and a seventh place finish in Star’s point standings.
Getting his feet wet at much smaller tracks in New England, Locke admits that the fast 5/8th’s mile of Oswego was an intimidating challenge early on, but one that he was able to adapt to relatively quickly.
“I felt like the bigger track at Oswego was a lot harder to handle for me,” Locke mentioned. “It was a big adjustment for me getting through the long corners at first, but as it went on, getting racing experience helped a lot and I started to get used to it. It was just cool to be racing there in general. I watched my Dad and Randy (Ritskes) drive there from such a young age.”
With his first Oswego experience now out of the way, Locke is already a proven contender and a legitimate threat to win the track championship - something that he says, in addition to securing his first feature win at the Big O, is far up on the high school sophomore’s to-do list this season.
“Most of all my really, really big goal is consistency this year,” stated Locke. “I want to try to go for the championship. We have a long way to go to get there, but hopefully we can do that, and obviously winning the first race at Oswego is really a big one as well. I have a lot of fun racing with my Dad and Grandpa and spending time with my family at the track. We have always had racing to bring us together, so we are really excited for that this year.”
Chase Locke will get his 2022 season started at Oswego’s 71st Season Opener on Saturday, May 28, which marks the return of the historic ‘Port City 150,’ featuring the 75-lap Shampine Memorial for Novelis Supermodifieds, 40-lap Tony White Memorial for Pathfinder Bank SBS, and a 35-lap special for J&S Paving 350 Supers.
2022 season ticket, individual race ticket, and camping pricing will be released in the coming weeks.
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About Oswego Speedway: Oswego Speedway is a 5/8 mile semi-banked pavement racing oval located off the shores of Lake Ontario in scenic Oswego, NY. The speedway has been a continuously run weekly racing venue since August 1951. The premier open-wheel pavement short track cars in the world, Supermodifieds, run weekly at the Oswego Speedway making it the only weekly Supermodified racing venue in the world. The Small Block Supermodifieds and 350 Supermodifieds accompany the full blown Supers on a weekly Saturday night schedule which runs from May through September. Oswego Speedway is mentioned in racing circles as the “Indy of the East,” as no fewer than a dozen past and present competitors have competed at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway including Mario Andretti, two-time Indy 500 champion Gordon Johncock, and former International Classic Champions Bentley Warren, Joe Gosek, and Davey Hamilton.