It is hard to describe what winning a Wally is like for a driver, an owner, a team, or a family.. A less than stellar couple of events, a massive crash that destroyed a Top 5 Pro Mod, a couple of gut-punching DNQ's and a summer off from NHRA to think about it all, the team Bahrain 1 team headed to Indy. But this story isn't about Stevie Jackson winning a Wally. It's about family. And a team atmosphere he created.
Stevie headed to Indy a little short on crew guys and badly needing a boost for his team. Longtime friend Drew Mcclure headed to Indy for his first time to help the guys. Fast forward to Q5, Stevie isn't qualified. The pressure was unbelievable. "The car was a hot mess" joked Brian Lohnes.
The old girl when right down Broadway on an epic Hail Mary to get in the field at #13. Monday Eliminations rolled around and the team made 4 appearances to the starting line but it was the one to the top end that was a dream. A US Nationals Win. An Indy Wally. MANY hundreds of dedicated NHRA racers have never held a Wally from Indy. Drew was able to celebrate with Stevie, Jack, Billy Stocklin, brand new crew man Robert as well as with his son Austin.
The story could end here, although if you've ever met Drew, you know that won't happen. See Drew is a friend to many and a close friend of mine. One of the most amazing supportive people in my life. It meant so much to me personally to see him be able to be part of that win.
Fast forward to No Mercy where Stevie should have been competeting with Shadow. However, Shadow had to stay in NHRA trim and Stevie was there tuning Chad Henderson and Drew didn't make the trip with no car to follow. During one of the crazy thunderstorms, I hung out with Stevie and the Henderson's and we chatted about winning Indy. "Don't you tell him but I got a Wally for Drew", said Stevie.
This was worse than most racing secrets I keep because I know what this would mean to Drew. Stevie was giddy. I knew it would be weeks before Wally arrived. Fast forward one more time to November 20, 2018. Drew returns home from work to Austin telling him he got a box. As soon as Drew opened the box, he knew what this moment was about to be. A US Nationals Wally.
"I was overcome with joy. I didn't have words right away. The feeling of being part of that win at the US Nationals in Indy. It's overwhelming." When my phone rang, I knew. I was teary. "It teared me up, I'm not gonna lie", Drew stated with excitement.
More than anything, it was the feeling that Stevie wanted to make this happen for Drew, part of his racing family. "I already called Stevie and told him Wally needs some more friends. Especially one from Indy", says Drew. "When we run and we run like crap, you know who youve got behind you", Stevie told Amanda Busick on the top end.
It's all about family. If you don't realize that we are all apart of this phenomenal family that is drag racing, you've not been around long enough!