Words/Photos Phil Hutchison
Stevie “Fast” Jackson wrapped up the 2019 E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod series championship earlier in the year at the NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte, but that did not stop the Georgia native from winning the final event of the season.
Jackson won the last race of the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service at the at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a victory over Todd Tutterow’s AAP Racing Camaro in the final round. Jackson qualified No. 1 in his blown Bahrain1 Racing Chevrolet Camaro with a 5.735 @ 250.37, and then finished off the year by going 5.788-seconds at 247.84 mph in the finals to beat Tutterow who left too early, fouling out his chances for a win.
Earlier in eliminations, Jackson beat outgoing 2018 Pro Mod champ Mike Janis, Scott Oksas and Mike Castellana to reach his eighth final round this year. It was one impressive season for Jackson winning four of the 12 contested races and took runner up at four others. With the win, Jackson also finished the year with the most points in class history with 1017 Points.
Tutterow, from Lewisville, NC, put up a good fight all season but ended up over 200 points behind Jackson in second place in the series.
Jackson told NHRA after the win, “Todd is my mentor. He taught me how to run a blown engine. Todd crushed me on a holeshot in the first race of the year at Gainesville. When I lit the top bulb in the final, Billy (Stocklin) said, ‘Do not let this man wear your butt out. Bring your ‘A’ game.’ It worked out good for us and we’ve just got a bad hot rod.”
Sunday night, following the final eliminations of the Dodge Nationals in Las Vegas, Jackson, along with the other Pro Mod racers had their annual year-end banquet at Sam’s Town Casino and Hotel. NHRA announcer and personality, Brian Lohnes, emceed the event along with guests, NHRA president Glenn Cromwell, Rob Fisher, Vice President of Motorsports of E3 Sparkplugs and John Waldie from the Real Pro Mod association. California racer Danny Rowe, who was instrumental in getting the series to the NHRA, was also on hand receiving an award for his pioneering efforts.
During the night’s festivities Jackson said, “ I believe my team is the cream of the crop. Three years ago Sheikh Abdullah and Khalid AlBalooshi put together this team with the vision and a goal of winning the championship. You can tell the kind of backing you have is how they stand behind you when you fail. Everybody likes to pat you on the back and tell you how great of a job you are doing but when you’re on fire, crashed, getting beat and you can’t drive the car, it’s smoking the tires and your tearing up all the stuff in the trailer, and the first call you get Monday morning is Sheikh Abdullah saying ‘I got you. You guys are the best in the business.’ That’s what develops a championship effort.”
In addition to Jackson taking home the big prize, his crew chief Billy “Big Swig” Stocklin walked away with Pro Mod Crew chief of the Year. Jackson said this about Billy, “When you have Billy Stocklin standing behind your car, something awesome is going to happen. You’re going to win a world championship or set a world record or throw the rods out. There’s no telling. Billy is absolutely the man.”
Jackson continued, ”My team, Robbie Lowry, Jack Barbee, Robert Johnson, Phil Schuler, Drew McClure, you guys pour your heart and soul into this deal. It’s way more than a job, it’s a lifestyle.”
The remaining top ten racers in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service are:
Todd Tutterow IV 805 Pts
Mike Janis 603 Pts
Mike Castellana 615 Pts
Rickie Smith 580 Pts
Jose Gonzalez 527 Pts
Sidnei Frigo 517 Pts
Khalid AlBalloshi 514 Pts
Brandon Snider 507 Pts
Steve Whitely 402 Pts
The 2020 Pro Mod series gets started in Gainesville, Florida, at the 51st annual Gatornationals March 12-15 and will include new stops at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Chicago, the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., and the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals in Dallas.