By: Jeff Champagne
Following the footsteps of his dad Jeff, this talented young man proved that the “sophomore slump” is merely a myth. Although he did not reach the top step of the podium in 2017, as he did in 2016, he showed his growth with a string of consistent runs throughout the season. Ryan reached the podium five times throughout 2017, including two podiums each at Wiscasset Speedway and the New-London Waterford Speedbowl and finished 3rd Place in points for the year .
“My favorite moment of the 2017 season would be leading the Boston Louie Memorial. That race is so special and has a breadth of history, it was an honor to be in the running for the win,” Locke stated.
Going into 2018, Locke is focusing on small adjustments and getting consistently comfortable in all situations, but he won’t let that detract from the big picture. If Ryan can run up front weekly, fight for wins, and stay consistent, then, “The championship will fall into place,” Ryan says.
With a mind-set such as that, it is not out of the picture to see the 15-year-old phenom make a big statement.
Born in 1979, Jeff Locke got into motorsports at an early age following his father to work on the #27 Shea ISMA Super at the age of 16. By 1998, he followed his dream of working for a cup series team and moved to North Carolina to work for Bessey Motorsports as a mechanic for Geoffrey Bodine’s team. In 2001 he made the move to TN to work with Tony Lambert at Team Bristol with Kevin Grubb. He gained invaluable experience working under Tony, who previously won several races with Mark Martin.
When Team Bristol closed its doors 2003, Jeff went on to work for Brewco Motorsports on the #37 of David Green, where he continued to work as a mechanic and front tire changer. The team placed 2nd in Busch Series Points that year with 4 wins. 2004 brought many changes to the teams including a move for Jeff to the #27 of Johnny Sauter and crew chief Newt Moore. The team had a successful year with multiple top 5 finishes. In 2005, Jeff was promoted to car chief for the #27 Duraflame car of Greg Biffle. After an amazing year working with Newt and Greg, getting his first win as car chief in Phoenix, and getting the first ever Busch Series pole in Mexico with Jorge Goeters, Jeff decided to move home to NH to pursue his own racing dreams.
In 2006, Jeff acquired a 10 year old supermodified that he completely rebuilt. With the help of his crew chief Richard Witkum and his hard working crew members, Jeff managed 5 wins and took home 4th place his first year in competitive racing at Lee Motor Speedway in 2007. In 2008, Jeff won 2 features before an unfortunate accident sent him over the wall at Lee, completely totaling his car.
2009 was Jeff’s first year in the ISMA Supermodified Series. As an unkown to those who weren’t aware of his past career manning the wrenches on cars in the Busch Series,Locke surprised many when he began showing up at ISMA shows with a new Brian Allegresso build No. 37 big block. Surprise turned to shock when Jeff held off seven-time ISMA champ Russ Wood to win a feature at Ontario’s Delaware Speedway in only his sixth ISMA start.
Jeff and his crew have had a lot of success in the ISMA series. Jeff has won two features, one at Sunset Speedway and one at Delaware Speedway. He has finished top 10 in points for the year 3 times and top 5 in points for the year 3 times.