The jump into the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series has been filled with challenges, and nothing about the first four races has been easy for Stevie “Fast” Jackson. But in his mind, that’s just the way he likes it.
Jackson, who has built a sizable fan following after ample success in the eighth-mile radial tire world, made his NHRA Pro Mod debut in 2017, welcoming any and all challenges competing against the elite of the Pro Mod world. It’s led to some early success, some early frustration, but most of all, plenty of excitement about the future heading into this weekend’s event as part of the 29th annual Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties at Heartland Park Topeka.
“Even though we’re just breaking into this, we’re not doing as well as I wanted because my expectation is to win,” said Jackson, who is currently 10th in Pro Mod points. “I knew it was going to be bumpy, and I had never run quarter-mile before, but I won’t be happy until we’re winning. We have really good people on board, and the guys assembled know how to win. I won’t settle for mediocrity, and I’m going to keep pushing until we get wins. I won’t stop until we get there.”
The race, which is presented by the Real Pro Mod Association (RPM), is the fifth of 12 events during the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series season and will be shown on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and FOX Sports 2 (FS2).
Jackson made an immediate impression at his first outing, qualifying No. 1 at the season-opening race in Gainesville. But mechanical troubles that started in eliminations of that event continued in Houston, where he didn’t qualify, and Charlotte, where Jackson suffered a first-round loss.
But Jackson liked how his supercharger-powered Bahrain 1 Camaro performed in qualifying, and that was backed up a week later with his first career final-round appearance in Atlanta. Jackson fell to red-hot Mike Castellana, the current points leader who has won two straight races, but it was a significant step in the right direction for Jackson, who continues to push forward.
“We’ve been making good runs down the track the entire season; we’ve just been plagued by some silly things,” Jackson said. “The strides we’ve made are 100 percent the team chemistry coming together. These guys out here are really good at what they do. The learning curve is steep, but we’ll get there. I think we work harder than anybody out there.”
Jackson has no problem speaking his mind, but his talents also speak for themselves, making him an ideal addition to the loaded NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series class. The talent-heavy field in Topeka includes the likes of previous world champions Troy Coughlin and Khalid alBalooshi, 2017 winners Steven Whiteley and Steve Matusek, and standouts Bob Rahaim, Danny Rowe, Jonathan Gray, and Michael Biehle.
But racing against the top Pro Mod talent in the world is precisely what drew Jackson to the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series in the first place.
“I want to race where the baddest people are,” Jackson said. “What drew me to the NHRA Pro Mod is they have the best talent of any series I’ve seen out there. The guys in this are good. It’s not an entry-level deal. But the tougher it is, the more I like it. There’s definitely a learning curve, but we’re getting there.”
Featuring the world’s fastest and most unique doorslammer race cars, the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series offers something for every kind of hot-rodding enthusiast. The class is highlighted by historic muscle cars, like ’67 Mustangs, ’68 Firebirds and ’69 Camaros, as well as a variety of late model American muscle cars. With more than 3,000 horsepower, the suspended-door Pro Mod cars travel the quarter-mile in less than six seconds at speeds exceeding 250 mph.
NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series qualifying begins Friday, May 19, with qualifying sessions at 3 and 6 p.m., continuing with the final qualifying session on Saturday, May 20, at 1 p.m. Round one of eliminations takes place on Saturday at 4 p.m. and continues on Sunday, May 21, at 12:15 p.m.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate.