On last night’s episode of Street Outlaws on the Discovery Channel, the ‘405’ gang from Oklahoma City took on a challenge from their neighbors to the north, as some of the finest racing machines from Wichita, Kansas — just a couple hour drive up I-35 from OKC — traveled down to try their hand at defeating the shows’ cars and stars. While Oklahoma City won each of the six races, perhaps the closest challenge came from a gentleman named Anthony Dockens, who lost to Chuck Seitsinger when he jumped the flashlight-start but made an otherwise exceptional pass.
Dockens’ story, however, goes well beyond what could be shown in the time constraints of the hour television program. You see, Dockens was born with Smith Muscular Dystrophy — a diagnosis he didn’t receive until the age of two, when he first began to walk and his family noticed him walking on the outsides edges of his feet. He was told, at the time, that his life expectancy was only around 24 years.
At the age of eight he had his first corrective surgery, followed by 16 more surgeries over the next four years. Says Dockens, “I felt like I lived in the Shriner’s Hospital in St. Louis with my family in Wichita visiting as often as they could. I got to leave the hospital at 12, but at 15 I was diagnosed with Cystines disease. This is a disease that creates an excessive amount of kidney stones that must be passed often.”
“For as long as I can remember I’ve been watching my family and their interest in cars. I was eight when I first fell in love with drag racing while going street racing with my uncle. Drag racing was every weekend and when I had the chance, I was at the track or on the street. It was all I could think about. I was excited to be out racing, but the first time I ever laid down rubber on the track, it was the most amazing feeling ever.”
Dockens purchased his first race car, a 1981 Chevy Monte Carlo, when he was 17. It was at that point, he shares, when he truly realized his passion for drag racing. The car was all stock, but was more than enough to satisfy his craving for racing. That car was followed by a 1984 Malibu station wagon with a 383 small block, an 850 double pumper, a three-speed, and 4.10 gears — and it was painted a beautiful candy blue with smooth doors and no handles. With that car, Dockens won a whole pile of races, and only lost a few.
He later sold the wagon for a 1981 El Camino, which was fitted with a 393 for power, a 250-horsepower shot of nitrous oxide, and a Powerglide — a combination that was good for 9.90’s at over 130 miles per hour. Dockens ultimately finished the car in a burnt orange color with ghost flames airbrushed on by good friend, Enrique Godina. A “Superman” symbols was also airbrushed into the hood, leading to the namesake “Super Elky”.
Dockens’ current ride, which received instant fame on the Discovery Channel, is a 1985 Monte Carlo SS known as the “Crypt Keeper”. The motor, a 511 cubic inch big block, was built by Stahl Racing, with 14.5:1 compression, bored .125-inch over, with a 4.25-inch stroke Eagle crank and rods. The mill is topped with stock GM Performance cylinder heads, and is all fed by a Nitrous Express plate system. Flip O Matic Racing Transmissions built the Powerglide tranny that’s paired with a Neal Chance converter, which transfers back to a Strange Engineering rear end housing. Riffle Motorsports set up the stock suspension system.
John Cartland applied the stunning paint black-and-blue scheme that’s finished off with another show-quality airbrush job by Godina. LED lighting is also present inside and out for a truly unique touch, as designed and installed by Redline Lumtronix.
Dockens’ crew includes Bobby Stahl, Brad Query, Britton Oxner, Clay Warren, Derek Wolke, Drew Stanley, Enrique Godina, Erica Barber, John Cartland, Kurt Riffel, Nathan Parks, and Owen Edwards. He was also quick to credit a number of individuals for allowing him the opportunity to race, including his children Drew, Skye, Memphis, and Dylan, and his late son Aiden, who passes away from SIDS in 2011.
But he singles out his wife, Amanda, as his biggest supporter and the one who deserves the most credit.
“She has stood by me through it all. She makes my dreams come true and without her I wouldn’t be able to do all that I do. I appreciate her so much. As I get older, my diseases have not been an easy thing to deal with, but they have not and will not hold me back from my passion and dreams of racing.”
When he was young, they told Dockens he wouldn’t live to see his 25th birthday. At the age of 37, he’s still going strong, and if he can help it, he’ll still be racing and promoting straight-line events for another 37 years. And might we see him take another shot at Street Outlaws? He leaves us with a simple, “I’m working on it.”
Images courtesy Anthony Dockens/Grant Cox Photography