To say that it has been a long time coming might be an understatement, but at the same time, it seems like only yesterday I was standing with Ellen at Stevie’s pit in Gainesville listening to Phil tell him that he had to print out his tech card.
Just a couple of seasons ago, Stevie was the new kid on the block when it came to NHRA racing. The brash kid from the small tire and grudge world that had won damn near everything there was to win. Radial racing, he was one of the most feared men on the property. Grudge racing, there few that ever wanted to take a shot at Stevie, and even fewer that may have ever beat him. This was the NHRA though, where you have drivers like Rickie Smith, Danny Rowe, Troy Coughlin, and many others.
When Stevie stepped into the NHRA arena, he was no longer the big fish in the pond. He was the small fish that was out to prove that he not only belonged, but that he could compete at that level with the best in the world. It didn’t take long for him to put everyone on notice though. Gainesville, his first NHRA Pro Mod event ever, he went to #1 in qualifying. This isn’t something that is supposed to happen. You don’t just walk in and go #1 at your first event. Well that was just the start of things to come for Stevie.
Over the 2017 and 2018 season, Stevie would have his share of ups and downs. He would wreck his primary car and have to race multiple races with his radial car Shadow, to stay in the hunt. He would go from not being qualified for the U.S. Nationals going into the final session, to getting in and winning the event. He would finish top five in his first two seasons on the NHRA tour. And now, in his third season, he has accomplished something that some drivers wait their entire life and never reach, that is the ability to be called a NHRA World Champion.
Nothing in NHRA, and especially Pro Mod is ever easy. Just getting into the sixteen car field is a hell of a challenge for anyone on the entry list. It isn’t like Steve Torrance and his 400+ point leads. The field has been tight all of this season. Anyone from the #16 qualifier to the #1 qualifier can end up in the Winner Circle. There is never a gimme in eliminations on the Pro Mod ladder. You are going to have to earn it, and that’s what Stevie has accomplished.
Whether it was racing that S10 or the OG Shadow, or a PDRA Pro Nitrous Car, Stevie has found a way to be a winner. When the odds are against him, he, Billy, Jack, Robbie, Robert, Drew, Phil, and the rest of KTR will find a way to make you regret underestimating Stevie Fast.
I have personally had the pleasure of watching and covering Stevie win radial races, win grudge races, and compete at the highest levels there are in our sport. This year was a year of adversity, not only for Stevie, but the entire team, and they proved to everyone that you don’t have to have a 10 person crew, or all the fanciest things in the world. You must have a drive to win and a drive to do what it takes to get those wins.
Congratulations to Steve Jackson, Bahrain1, Billy Stocklin, Jack Barbee, Robert Jonsson, Phil Shuller, Drew McClure, Robbie Lowry, and the entire KTR family and fans on a job well done this season!!