Derek Travis: I lost my job from being on Street Outlaws

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Derek Travis, a star on the Discovery Channel’s Street Outlaws, got into racing through his wife. Her brothers used to race, as well as her father, who convinced Travis to do the same.

His brother-in-law Mickey helped him get the car that he has now on the show. He traded a ’75 Camaro, a late second-Gen body style, for his current car. He was only able to keep his shifter, engine and transmission from his previous car, and has been slowly building it into the car of today since 2007.

Derek Travis (Photo by Scott Witty)
Derek Travis (Photo by Scott Witty)

“I got into street racing because of my wife,” he added. “Her brothers – Mickey and Brian and her dad was a racer back then. They always grew up around racing fast cars, so when I met my wife, who I’ve been with for the past 17-years, they talked me into getting a car and they helped me put together a motor.

“I took it to another level when I met up with Dave Comstock (Daddy Dave) and the Wide Open Throttle guys – Justin Shearer (Big Chief), Shawn Ellington (Murder Nova) and all of them,” Travis said. “After that, I had Dave help me with the car a little bit, and I moved out on my own with my wife. Dave has taken me under his wing and helped me out a lot. I’ve been street racing ever since.”

Since appearing on the show, Travis has become well-known around his town in Oklahoma. But in addition, it has cost him his job because they did not like he was illegal street racing.

“The TV show hasn’t changed my life per-say,” Travis added. “Yeah, I’m on TV and I get noticed. The biggest thing was, I never been on an airplane, and I was on an airplane due to the TV show. We went out to California, which was pretty cool. This has helped me go to states that I haven’t been to before.

“It’s also had its downfall, as the job that I had when I first got on the show, they didn’t like the fact that I was doing something illegal, so I actually got fired, because of the show. So, now, I’m at a place now, where it doesn’t bother him that I’m doing that. I work a ton of hours for him – 60 to 68 hours per week – then I have to turnaround and film when they want us to film. I also have to raise my 8-year-old daughter, and be with my wife, while also working on my car and still be competitive with the guys, who have a lot more money and time to work on their cars.”

The Street Outlaws have to fund their operations out of their own pockets. Sponsors do not pay them, but Travis said they get discounts and free products to help their race cars.

“I’ve picked up a few sponsors since I’ve been on the TV show,” Travis mentioned. “As far as anything else, I’m a blue collar guy that works every day. I do what I need to do, then I’ll buy and sell as I’ve worked in a Pawn Shop for a total of 16-years, so I have a little hustle in me. I do what I need to do in order to make the extra money that I need to make.”

Travis is the one who is always asking for the sleeves of the other driver in each race. He said he’s always wearing sleeve-less t-shirts and he gets hot real easy, which is how the idea started once someone said he should ask for their sleeves.

“At first, I laughed it off, and since the TV thing, where I’m not the fastest person out there and I don’t get the most TV time,” Travis acknowledged. “I don’t have a contract with Street Outlaws or Pilgrim Studios, so I wanted to do something to make myself stand out. Everyone has their own little thing that they do – Chuck Seitsinger (Chuck) is hotheaded, Farmtruck (Sean Whitley) & AZN (Jeff Bonnett) are just crazy in the stuff that they do. It’s just one of those things, where everyone has their own niche. I had to find out what my niche was, so I started to cut their sleeves.

“And to cut a grown man’s sleeves, and the amount of butt hurt that’s on their face, whenever I’m doing it, it’s almost priceless,” he stated. “It’s also another way for me to get in their heads. If you’re thinking, ‘He’s going to take my sleeves on National TV, you’re not thinking the race.’ You may forget one or more of your steps to get your car to go down the road. That may give me the edge that I need.”

Street Outlaws is a highly successful TV show, but at the same time, it is controversial since it follows illegal street racers. The show had an 0.4 rating between 18-to-49-year-olds on Monday night, according to TV by the Numbers.

“Our niche is to get the people, who are non-racers,” he stated. “Discovery Channel is trying to produce a TV show, and that’s what most people don’t understand. It is a semi-reality TV show, and we do what we want and it’s not scripted. Yeah, they do block off the streets for us to race, because if not, all you would see would be two tail and head lights. You wouldn’t be able to see anything if that wasn’t happening.

“Therefore, the little stuff that Farmtruck and AZN do, it’s funny and it’s our comedy. If there’s no comedy there, we wouldn’t be able to get the other viewers that normally wouldn’t watch it because of racing. So, they are going to different people to get other people’s attention. If you’re a racer, and you really like cars, you’re going to watch our show. I’m an NHRA fan, because it has fast cars in it. I don’t like NASCAR, because they go round-and-round. It makes me dizzy, but it’s part of racing, so therefore, if there was nothing else on TV, I’m still going to watch it for a few laps. I can’t watch the whole thing, and racers are going to watch other racers – motor stuff, car stuff – period. You have to target the other demographic in what’s going on.”

There are 11 comments

  1. Bonnie

    I love this show… I love fast cars… I race every once in a while… My wonderful husband bought me a 300 set for our 20th anniversary and I regularly put my foot in it. If we were in the position; I would love to have a Hellcat, but will have to wait anyway. Love the show. Keep it real.

  2. Steve

    Maybe you can see all the sleeves. Together to make a quilt to sleep under. Derek is a wanna be street racer and might have won more often of he lost 200 pounds.

    Doc needs to be off the show as well. He is the real Milly mouthed cry baby. He needs botch slapped.

  3. Suz

    The show may target 18-49 age group but my husband and I are in our 70s and we love the show. We also like to watch drag racing on the sports networks. We had a friend with a jet funny car and use to go to the shows when he and his wife were in town in VA. You just don’t know which age group is going to watch a new show like Street Outlaws!!

  4. Jason Mcbee

    It’s the best show on TV. Period. And I don’t care if Discovery is helping or not! Just keep putting the show on cause if you take that show off, you will lose a bunch of people that watch this channel!!

  5. Danny Thomas

    Where do you get all of the loud mouth punks like the reaper, i know him and he’s got more loud mouth than a**. If any one of you other racers will call his bluff, this bald-headed loud mouth punk will run his a** and mouth home to his momma. I know I’ve called his bluff before. And who in his right mind would paint a drag car pink (I mean a man) and then call the damn thing Stinky Pinkie or (Stinky P—y) you go figure.

  6. Big Randy

    Hey there, all in the 405 Outlaws, keep up the great work on the street races. We will be watching. Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah From The 417

  7. Howard Short

    You are what stinks on this show, big crybaby. Get off the show and let the guys race, all you do is block the list and bully people.

  8. Warlock94

    When you say you guys have to scrounge for money you’re taking away from your family. all regular employed guys, how do you come up with thousands of dollars to bet on these races and you say it’s not scripted and the Discovery Channels not helping you bullshit! Mega K motors, hitec shops, dynos, dont insult me, real street racers drive their cars to work

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