JACKSON COUNTY -- More than 40 years ago, when he was just 10 years old, Dale Poole took a job at a full-service gas station in Pascagoula. He saved his money and bought at 1961 Chevrolet Impala -- the first car he would fix up to drag race in.
"I always had a liking to cars, even when I was just a child. Some people's attached to computers. Some people's attached to guns. I'm attached to fast cars."
His father didn't like his hobby, but that did not stop Poole.
"Daddy was against it," he said, but he used his own money to rebuild his cars and buy new tires when he wore the tread off during races.
"It never got old," he said. "I still got the kid in me. I still want to get out there and burn tires."
That attachment to drag racing carried on to Poole's son, Shannon.
Like his father, Shannon Poole found cars fascinating when he was just a boy.
"It made me want to follow in his footsteps because I looked up to him so much," he said.
He was 13 when his dad bought him his first race car.
"We worked on it together," he said, "and I raced it and drove it as an everyday car to school and stuff."
Building a drag racer is a lot of hard work and elbow grease. Stock parts must be replaced with lighter versions to minimize weight, and Shannon Poole and his father took apart his first car and put it back together again.
Now, Shannon Poole will show the nation a newer prized possession, Big Dookie, a 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu. He's one of 10 contestants on the Discovery Channel's reality show "Street Outlaws: New Orleans," premiering Monday night.
The show will pit the racers against each other in 1/8-mile dashes that last less than 5 seconds for a chance to claim the top spot.
Shannon Poole said someone he knew encouraged him to apply for the show.
"I went in for an interview and they liked me and offered me a contract," he said.
He said the filming took nine weeks, and it was based in New Orleans, though they did travel for some races.
"It's a good experience to be recognized on a national level," he said. "The show is telling our story and sharing with the world what we do and how we do it. It's 100 percent real."
Poole bought the Big Dookie in 2001, right after taking a position at the Pascagoula Fire Department in 2000. He bought it for $1,400 from a car dealership. It was green.
Now, Big Dookie is revved up and fire-engine red. And it's not the same car he bought 15 years ago.
"I've changed just about every bit of the drive line, the rear end, the motor. It's been a long process of lightening it up," he said.
The new body parts for Big Dookie weren't cheap. The hood cost $100 more than he'd paid for the car.
"I've had a lot of help along the way," he said, saying he couldn't have been a successful drag racer without coaching from his father and the backing of his wife, Cara.
"She's one of my biggest supporters," he said. "Without her or my dad, I wouldn't be able to fund this or do this."
All in all, Poole said, he's put about $150,000 into the car. And the thing about drag racing, he said, is it can all be taken away in an instant.
"When you make that decision to get in lanes with somebody, you've accepted whatever happens before you leave the line," he said. "If you flip it 35 times, you've accepted that before you leave the lanes."
Poole said safety is first priority when drag racing -- and he's been around the strips a few times. He's raced all over the Southeast.
"I've got every piece of equipment that you could possible have to ensure my safety," he said. "I go to great lengths to secure myself. And I have a huge life insurance policy."