Racing fuels togetherness for the Lingo family

MILLSBORO — Multi-generation family affairs are frequently found in the world of motorsports.

The Lingo family is on that list.

Camp donald lingo jr in suit good one Q&A

Donald Lingo Jr.

Donald Lingo Jr. is following the need-for-speed trail blazed by his cart-racing father, Donald Lingo Sr., owner of Lingo Marine in Millsboro, and the ripple-effect churned by his grandfather, who raced hydro-boats.

At 32, Mr. Lingo Jr. was bitten by the racing bug at a young age.

“I started racing go-karts when I was 5,” he said. “I actually competed competitively when I was 6.”

Next was the micro-sprints when he was 12 years old.

“And when I actually turned 16 years old I started racing the stock cars, full size late models. And that is where we’ve been ever since. We’ve been here at this level for a while now,” said Mr. Lingo Jr.

Sponsors include Lingo Marine, Georgetown Pizza Palace, Ralph’s Custom Dual Exhausts, Atkins Masonry, Walters Seafood, Parker Farm and Dan’s Tackle Shop.

A 2002 Sussex Central High School graduate, Mr. Lingo Jr. and wife Amanda have two sons, Donald III, 9, and Dylan, 5.

He works at Aloft AeroArchitects (formerly PATS Aircraft Systems) based in the industrial park near the Delaware Coastal Airport.

From an interview in the pits on Camp Barnes night at Delaware International Speedway, here is Donald Lingo Jr.

Camp donald lingo working on motor

Donald Lingo Sr. makes adjustments to son Donald Lingo Jr.’s race car.

Racing for you is truly a family affair?

“It is a family deal. My family owns Lingo Marine. And I have got a lot of people that help me locally, sponsor wise. Without those people, it wouldn’t make it possible. It is a family thing. My dad with go karts, that is what got me into go karts. That is basically what got us hooked from the beginning.”

This race track, Delaware International Speedway, is where you and your wife met?

“We met right here at the race track. And we’ve got a family now and we all do it together. It’s kind of our hobby/family outing every week.”

What kind of success have you had?

“We have won six championships at Delmar (Delaware International Speedway) and two at Georgetown … and a lot of feature wins. It took a few years before we got to the point where we won our first championship. Then on top of that it is just the basics; having the car working well and winning races. If you are winning races the championships will always come unless you have a lot of bad luck with mechanical stuff.”

How much does work off the track factor into your success?

“The big thing is taking the time week to week to just do the maintenance on the race car. All it takes is one bolt to break to have a mechanical problem to knock you out of a race. It takes a lot of consistency to win the championships. I mean you’ve got to win races, too, and you’ve got to be running good. But at the same time it takes a lot of work, a lot of long nights at the race shop through the week. Lucky enough my wife is very understanding. It’s a lot of hours at the shop. The time spent in the shop through the week is what makes the difference when you get to the track on the weekend. That is a big part of it.”

Your race cars are driven by home-made power?

“With the sponsors the big thing that makes this possible is my dad builds our engines. We build our own engines. So that makes it possible for us to be able to do this really, financially. At our race car shop he’s got a little engine room shop where we build all of our motors. Not a lot people do. A lot of people go outside. We are like one of the last – I guess they call it the old-school racers that build their own motors.”

Is there a favorite memory or accomplishment?

“I’d say our first points championship is probably the most memorable thing in racing. There is nothing like the first one. It seems like the first one is a little special.”

Is there a missing piece to the portfolio?

“The big one – the Camp Barnes race – we’ve led this race before. We’ve led past halfway and had mechanical problems. This is the one that we are really wanting to get under our belts. It would be really nice to have a Camp Barnes win.”

What kind of work do you do at Aloft?

“I am a certification engineer in the aerospace industry. I went to Del Tech and got a mechanical engineering degree and started right over there right out of Del Tech. I’ve been there for 12 years. I worked my way up. I was a design engineer and stuff and I have worked my way up to the level of certification engineer, which is a little bit higher than the normal standard design.”

Might the baton be passed to the next generation of Lingo racers?

“My oldest one has a quarter midget. He’s not competitively racing yet but we’ve been practicing with it.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at

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