Doc is one of the fastest street racers among the 405 Crew that rose to prominence in “Street Outlaws.” It has been a major coup for the Discovery Channel to feature the street racing scene in the US, as it became No.1 on primetime television after premiering in 2013. The reality series has amassed a huge following that it spawned several spin-offs, including “Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings” in which Doc was a strong competitor. He wrecked his famous car, the Street Beast, in September 2020, and fans wondered what became of him.
Early life and family
James “Doc” Love was born on 19 February 1969, in Moore, Oklahoma City, USA. He shared that his family was dirt poor, having a father who was a concrete construction worker. Winter was most especially hard on them as they were close to starving to death, just eating cornbread and beans. Every summer, he worked just so they could have the means to buy clothes and other necessities.
Doc is ready for race night. Are you? #StreetOutlaws returns in just 3 DAYS.
His good name and drive were all he had as his ‘most precious assets.’ His first car was a 1977 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that his mother passed down to him so he could drive his sister and brother to school, and he had to work so he could afford to pay for the gas.
He fell in love with racing, as he believed that he was born with the need for speed, and grew up at a time when many were driving muscle cars. ‘I was just terrorizing the streets as a teenager, just having a good time being a youth in America,’ he recalled. The first one that he bought with his own money was a 1972 model for $75. It only needed new rear brakes and timing chain on it, and then it was good to go; it lasted a while too.
Doc enrolled at the University Technical Institute in Scottsdale, Arizona to become a diesel mechanic, and then worked at the local Petership dealership as the shop foreman. Later on, he became the sole proprietor of Southwest Diesel Service that he and his grandfather established.
Over the years, he acquired a few muscle cars, including a 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396, but he had to sell most of them as he took his responsibilities seriously, and prioritized running his shop and raising a family over everything else. In 1990 he married his high school sweetheart, Judy Love, and has two daughters with her, Ashtyn and Haely. Although his wife was not into street racing, his children loved it.
Of note, he was 19 when he took on the nickname, “Doc.” Some woman thought it was cool to call him “Doctor Love” at the service desk, given his surname , and it stuck.
His love for racing
When his business was on solid footing after over a decade, he began to indulge in his passion – cars and racing. ‘It was time. I needed to do something for myself,’ he said. He bought a 1970 Chevy Monte Carlo on eBay, saying, ‘It was just what I was looking for.
Something I could get in and cruise and drive and have fun with.’ Back then, it had ‘an iron-headed 468 on a single carburetor,’ small tires, and an eight-point mild-steel cage. He drove it from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Oklahoma, and tested it on the track. With an elapsed time of 12.27 seconds, he was hooked. However, its speed was soon not good enough for him, and he kept upgrading his car to get 10 seconds over the quarter-mile on nearby tracks, becoming the ‘king of test and tune.’
At that time, the street racing scene in Oklahoma was an underground operation that he wasn’t part of, or had no knowledge of; it was Jerry “Monza” Johnston whom he met through a mutual friend who introduced him to it. Sometime in 2008, Monza invited him to check out the Midwest Street Car guys, and Doc liked what they were doing.
— James Love (@StOutlawsDoc) June 1, 2016
The very next day, he asked Monza what he needed to buy from the JEGS product catalog, and then he was out racing the following weekend, and has been racing ever since, his car earning the nickname “Street Beast.”
In 2010, Doc’s team went to Ennis, Texas to be part of the SPEED channel’s “Pinks All Out” hosted by Rich Henderson, but failed to make it on the show. Disappointed and annoyed, he said, ‘Screw all that, we’ll just go back and have fun on the streets.’ He entered and won on the underground racing circuit called the “Cash Days”, and became one of the top contenders in the OKC racing scene.
How it started?
It was widely acknowledged that Oklahoma was the center of street racing, but it was Justin “Big Chief” Shearer who took it to another level, as he organized the races.
Before he took charge, car enthusiasts and street racers would just come together in parking lots, and most of the time would go home without a single race happening. Street racing is illegal, but somehow, Big Chief kept the races under the radar, so more drivers participated in the races that he organized.
Many people were interested in street racing, so whenever the small media companies or independent vloggers would get wind of when and where races would be taking place, they would be there to film them. Some of the videos that made it online went viral, and attracted the attention of Discovery Channel.
Doc and the rest of the guys were on a discussion board of Midwest Streetcars, and ‘would cuss each other out, call each other out all on the internet. That’s all it was, and then we’d get together on the weekends and settle it.’ He called it a race for fun, even if they were all highly competitive.
One day, someone messaged them on the website: ‘Hey, I’m so and so from Pilgrim Studios. I’m interested in filming you guys. Do you want to be on TV?’ to which Big Chief replied, ‘If you’re for real, call me.’ The next thing they knew, people from the Pilgrim Media Group were filming them, as they produced the reality series “Street Outlaws.” Filming started at Doc’s house. Some of the drivers thought that the producers were undercover, conducting a sting operation to catch them in the act, and they would end up in jail.
The reality series was basically about the street racing scene in the US, featuring the 405 crew that included Doc, Big Chief, Daddy Dave, Monza, and Murder Nova. These guys competed against each other with the end goal of getting into the Top Ten List of the fastest streetcars. ‘It’s super important to be on the list.
The Top Five are the baddest best that there is,’ Doc said. If one wanted to get a coveted spot in the list, or be included at all, one had to win the race against someone ahead in the ranking. For instance, a racer on the tenth spot would need to work his or her way to the top by beating the No.9 first then No.8, and so on and so forth. Doc said that there’s nothing he wouldn’t sacrifice to be No.1.
“Street Outlaws” premiered on 10 June 2013 on the Discovery Channel. Many people including the production crew were surprised that the show became No.1 in prime time with millions of people tuning in, as they never thought it would go anywhere; they didn’t even have a commercial for the first year. However, Doc believed it was going to be a hit because ‘it’s pretty cool, it’s what we do…we live it.’ and he was right.
It has become so successful that they continued to film season after season, and it also spawned spin-offs, such as “Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings,” “Street Outlaws: Memphis,” “Street Outlaws: New Orleans,” and “Street Outlaws: Fastest in America.”
It was an exciting time for the street racing community, and Doc was proud of how popular the show has become, and how it was able to bring street or drag racing to the ‘grassroots, back-porch level, and people can relate to that and they’re getting interested.’ It came to a point that even some members of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), the governing body for drag racing, competed against the OKC 405 crew. The NHRA became concerned with this development, and even issued threats to its members that they would lose their racing licenses should they appear in the series. The race car drivers were in an uproar over this, but the NHRA defended their stance saying they wanted to keep members from promoting something illegal and unsafe.
A Doc vs. Monza rematch might be the most anticipated match this season. 4 Days #NewStreetOutlaws.
Competing against professional racers posed a challenge for Doc and the OKC street racers. He said, ‘These top-notch teams are coming in. We really have to figure this thing out and step up our game to stay competitive, or we’re just gonna’ get run over.’ Doc has proven himself to be a tough one to beat, as he continued to push himself to the limit. He was never satisfied, and as a result, his ride, the Street Beast, continued to evolve as it seemed to be in a never-ending phase of getting an upgrade for the engine, tires, and chassis.
What happened to Doc?
Fight between Doc and Reaper in 2017
James “Reaper” Goad wore his emotions on his sleeve, and Doc thought it was a good idea to mess with his head so he’d be off his game before the drag race. He refused to race against Reaper, and rubbed it in his face that he’s a spot higher than him on the list, so it’s his prerogative when to accept the challenge. Reaper was so angry at Doc that he shoved the latter in the chest and started to choke him.
However, before it escalated further, other guys broke up the fight. Doc admitted that things got heated, and was more than he’d anticipated. Reaper knew that he shouldn’t have gone that far but sometimes it couldn’t be helped as tensions were high when one was trying to compete for a higher spot. The two raced against each other, but Reaper was unable to take Doc’s spot at No.8, remaining at No.9. Doc said that this was his favorite win.
Heart attack in 2018
Doc felt that something was wrong with him while he was in Ohio to participate in the race for the filming of the “Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings” event held at the Summit Motorsports Park. He suffered a heart attack, and underwent surgery in which three stents were inserted to restore blood flow to the heart muscle. In his Twitter post, he updated his fans regarding his condition, saying that he was doing well, and would be back on the track when the doctors released him.
Car crash in 2020
While filming for an episode of “Street Outlaws” in Nebraska, Doc crashed the Street Beast during a race, rolling five or six times, knocking down Cedar trees out of the ground. He was no stranger to car crashes, but this was definitely the most serious. The rest of the crew who were watching knew that it was bad, and all rushed to where he was and waited for the paramedics to get to him. All they knew at that time was that Doc’s not okay, as he was knocked unconscious for nearly 30 minutes. Fortunately, when he regained consciousness he was able to talk and knew who he was. He didn’t recall who he was racing against, which was Big Chief, but knew that his racecar was a 1970 Monte Carlo.
The 405 crew were quietly observing and sighing in relief that Doc was alive, but the worry was still there, as they didn’t know the extent of his injuries.
Big Chief said that all he ever wanted was for them to be able to race on the street, but when something like this happens, he couldn’t help but overanalyze things, saying ‘What’s changed? What’s different? Because Doc has not crashed that car like that ever, so what’s different?’
Doc shared his condition via a Facebook post on 21 September 2020: ‘I am fine if you can call being yellow, black, blue, green, and a wonderful shade of purple from my neck to my calves.’ He further stated that he was still suffering from a bad concussion, as he couldn’t remember anything pertaining to the crash or the race. He was grateful for the prayers and support he received from everyone including his fans. Judging from the videos and photos of the car after the crash, he knew it was a miracle that he was still alive, and acknowledged that the chassis saved his life.
Unfortunately, what couldn’t be saved was his famous car, which helped him make a name for himself in the street racing scene. Doc said in a Facebook post in January 2021, ‘As much as it kills me to think about I’ve had to make some very hard decisions in the last couple of days. The OG Street Beast is done.’ The bad news didn’t stop there, as due to the COVID-19 pandemic that caused lockdowns and travel restrictions, his finances took a beating, so he had to sell some of his vehicles, including a 1987 Monte Carlo SS, 1981 WS Bandit Clone Trans Am, a Stacker trailer, and a Toter home to pay for the construction of his new race car.
He unveiled his new car in June 2021 – a blue Firebird with a 959 cubic inches motor, which he called the “Stunt Double.”
It made its debut in the season premiere of “Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings.” On the anniversary of his car crash, he wrote on his Facebook page, ‘While the Stunt Double is faster, she is still not the Street Beast or the car that made me. You guys have no idea how much I miss that car.’
His life changed a lot after appearing in the hit series, as he became popular and it opened a lot of opportunities for him. He has been active on social media to communicate with fans as well as promoting the series that he continued to be part of, and his merchandise.
Doc is proud of how far he’s come, saying that his determination, work ethic, and personality helped get him to where he is now, and that he’s worked hard for everything he has. He admitted that his family life suffered because of how busy he has been, but hoped that he’d be financially set when all this is over, and is back to living a normal life.