The radial tire and grudge racing Icon that is Stevie Fast added another title to his distinguished by young career over the weekend. He is now an NHRA US Nationals Champion.
In a season that has had more than its share of ups and downs, Stevie experienced one of the biggest achievements that anyone in our sport can have by winning the biggest race in all of drag racing. For more than 60 years, the pinnacle of drag racing has been held in Brownsburg, Indiana. Some may say that there are races that pay more, but the fact is that the US Nationals is the crème de la crème of drag racing. The only thing that is bigger, would be to take home a NHRA World Championship.
It certainly wasn’t an easy weekend for Stevie. It took five rounds of qualifying before he even made the field. Going into the final qualifier on Sunday, Stevie was close to dead last on the sheet. That all changed when he, Billy, Jack, and the rest of the team put it all together and blasted off a pass that moved him up to 13th on the ladder. Not exactly the best spot to be in, but at least he was in the field.
When you are sitting at 13th, you have no choice but to face off against the number 4 qualifier and in this case if was the turbo powerhouse from Brazil, Mr. Sidnei Frigo. Sidnei got the jump on Stevie but was out of shape for most of the pass, allowing Stevie to take the win and move onto round two. In the second round, it was nitrous driver Bob Rahaim who Stevie would have to beat. Bob was dead late on the tree, combine that with Stevie having a much better light and Bob was left getting GAPPed.
The semi-final round was Stevie’s biggest challenge of the day so far. He was facing off against one of the best in the sport when he lined up against Mike Castellana. Both had pro stock style lights, and Stevie was not going to be defeated. He ran an .84 to Mike’s .85. Blower of Blower crime is what Stevie and Mike had to deal with, while on the other side of the ladder, Jose Gonzalez was trying to eliminate another Bahrain1 cars, when he took on Khalid AlBalooshi. There was one hell of a staging duel when those two lined up. Jose took the win and that meant that we were going to have Stevie and his already legendary Shadow 2.0 faced off against the brand-new Camaro of jose Gonzalez out of the Proline Racing camp.
Jose was first off the line with a mind boggling .009 light to Stevie’s .038. Neither car made a cosmic pass down the track though, but it was Stevie’s 6.16 that gave him and the crew a history making wally. This was not only Stevie’s first win this season, but it’s the first win with what is commonly known as Shadow 2.0. The car was built for 1/8th mile radial racing and certainly not ¼ mile pro mod racing. The conversion occurred after an accident during the finals at Charlotte four-wide earlier this season. Well over one hundred hours were spent just getting it converted over and he has struggled since the switch over. The struggle was so bad, that the team had dropped to 8th place in points. When they wrapped up the victory they are now sitting 5th in points, 126 points behind first place. He made up 77 points on the first-place spot in a single race. Not too bad for a grudge racer from Georgia.
The next spot the team has for a wally is St. Louis, at Gateway. Weather should be good, and I am sure that Stevie will have the car on kill in an attempt to keep gathering points and creep up on Mike Janis and Rickie Smith.