Welcome to the next installment of E3xtreme’s list from the most memorable moments of 2018. Today will are going to give you some more of the things we determined were top moments of 2018. Again, this is not in any specific order, they are just moments that we felt were worth highlighting.
Stevie Fast Converts Shadow for NHRA
It’s no big surprise that this made the list for top moments of 2018. The fact is that Stevie is one of the most recognizable figures in the entire industry at this point. In some circles I would argue that more people would recognize Stevie before the recognized John Force, Jason Line, or Mike Salinas. When Stevie had his bang up in Charlotte, it wasn’t one that you could slap the car on a jig and get it fixed quick. Also, when you are racing at that level, there aren’t just cars sitting around at shops waiting to be bought. Fact of the matter was that converting Shadow to NHRA trim was really the only option that he, Phil, Jack, and the team had at that point. Over 100 hours went into converting the car to be NHRA Pro Mod Legal, and while they had to work the bugs out of it and did in fact DNQ a couple of times, Stevie, Jack, Phil, and the rest of KTR managed a couple of wins with the car in that trim. Kuddos to that team for taking a grudge/radial car and kicking the shit outta some of the NHRA purpose-built cars. Stevie is looking forward to 2019, as the car will change back to it’s Outlaw ways and his new car will be ready for whatever comes in 2019.
Tyler Moves OSCR to Bowling Green, KY
One doesn’t move an iconic race to a new location, that will never work, you will lose all your following. Look what happened to World Ford Challenge, Shakedown, World Series of Drag Racing, and so many more that tried it. Even I was a sceptic at first, though I knew that the wunderkind could pull off damn near anything he set his mind to. No doubt this move was a shock to a lot of people, but Tyler managed to ease everyone’s thoughts and concerns about it leading into the event. I don’t think the rest of us were worried by the time the event rolled around, but I am damn sure Tyler was. The kid was successful whether it was at Holly Springs, Memphis, or now Bowling Green. The event really went off without a hitch as well. I personally love Bowling Green (especially vs Memphis) so the event being moved to a better location, facility, etc, was a stroke of genius. Tyler, even though he has taken the GM job at VMP now has already stated that for the near future his race will continue to stay at Beech Bend in Bowling Green, and for that a lot of us are thankful.
Nick Bacalis Rack Up First Ever Win
Wins in drag racing aren’t as easy as some people seem to think that they would be. I don’t care if you are talking about a round win, an event win, or a damn championship, those things are hard to come by. For Nick it has been well over a decade in the making, but it finally came to fruition this year in Norwalk, Ohio during the NMCA stop there. Behind the wheel of the beautiful blue Mustang powered by a stout BES Ford Big Block, Nick captured his first event win of his career. Nick took a holeshot win over Daniel Pharris in the finals to lock up the event win after defeating Cagle, Clements, and Goss to get to the finals. At the end of the season Nick announced his departure from BES and his move to Sullivan Racing where he will be assisting Pro Mod Owner and Driver Craig Sullivan with his program. We at E3xtreme congratulate Nick on the win and expect to see him in plenty of Winner Circle photos with the Sullivan crew in 2019!!
Mike James Sells his Iconic Lightning
There are a lot of you out there that might not know the name, but if you run in Ford circles you certainly know the truck. We even featured it a while back. In a lot of circles, this is one of the more iconic Ford Lightning trucks around. Mike has had the truck for the past two decades and has competed locally, along with competing for a time at the now defunct World Ford Challenge. The truck was something that everyone loved because it wasn’t a chopped-up version of a truck. There are memories that stick out in my mind and his truck created one of those. I was at our mutual friend Eric Guenther’s house for his housewarming I believe. As we were sitting outside, I heard this sound and turned to Eric. I asked where the train was, and he laughed. As I turned my head back around, I saw this truck driving down the street. The damn thing sounded like a freight train coming in hot. A street truck with a 427 and a Procharger F2 blower on it. Well as time progresses and we get older, sometimes it becomes time to move onto something else. That is exactly what Mike and his son Ben did last night (12/26/18) when he dropped the truck off to its new owner. Mike told me on the phone last night that it was time to move on to something else. I certainly hope that we see the Lightning make a return someday to either an NMRA event or otherwise, to me it will always be Mike’s Lightning and the memories that came along with it I will continue to cherish.
Birdman Takes Home NPK Championship
I will be the first to admit that I has strayed away from everything TV Hero related over the last few years. Whether it be the Street Heros or NPK. While I have friends that are heavily involved in that aspect of it, I have had a hard time dealing with what I believe is a backward progression in drag racing. With that said, I have started to watch an episode here and there of Memphis, along with watching some of the NPK airings. We talk about Rickie Smith, John Force, Tony Schumacher, Warren Johnson, etc being the best of the best in their arena, but if you talk to a lot of the NPK, no prep racers, and street racers, they will tell you that Birdman is one bad son of a bitch. He has gained the respect of his competitors, and whether some admit it or not, he is the one that no one seems to want to pull a chip against. Not being a big fan of backwards direction, I don’t fully understand the point of building a car to that caliber and running it on a “no prep” surface, but I will tell you that these men and women can flat out drive. By the end of the season it came down to two men, Ryan Martin and James Finney. It came down to the final event of the season and Birdman was able to nudge out Fireball for the Championship and a healthy payday. I am damn sure that we will see this type of racing continue to grow in the short term as it brings excitement and fans. We at E3xtreme send out our congratulations to James on his Championship!!