If he wanted, Stevie “Fast” Jackson could take a minute and figure out the points scenarios necessary to win his first world title in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service as part of this weekend’s NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals at state-of-the-art zMAX Dragway. Instead, Jackson would rather just win and clinch it that way.
A Charlotte victory would assuredly give Jackson the championship in his blown Bahrain1 Racing Camaro and also removes any guesswork out of the equation. He’s already had an incredible season in the loaded class, winning twice and advancing to six final rounds as he leads Todd Tutterow and defending world champ Mike Janis by 156 and 167 points, respectively, but Jackson knows the job isn’t done yet, which has him motivated to take care of business in Charlotte.
“My goal is to just crush everybody and the championship will take care of itself,” said Jackson, who has seven wins and 13 final rounds in just 35 NHRA Pro Mod races. “There’s about 40 different scenarios, but I feel more pressure just wanting to win this race. We’ve struggled at this race, so it’s one I really want to win. Every race is nerve-wracking because I want to win. There’s no more or less pressure because of the championship.”
The race, which is presented by the Real Pro Mod Association (RPM), is the 11th of 12 events during the 2019 E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series season and will be shown on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) and Fox Sports 2 (FS2). Rick Hord is the defending event winner of the race, but three-time world champ Rickie Smith has been hot as of late, going to back-to-back final rounds and picking up the win at the most recent race in St. Louis.
That victory came against Jackson, but the fan favorite would gladly take another final-round berth as he aims to put the finishing touches on his dream season. It includes wins in Houston and Topeka, the quickest run in Pro Mod history (5.643-seconds) and an impressive display of consistency in a variety of conditions. For that, Jackson praised a team led by tuner Billy Stocklin.
“The car and the people on this team are in a better place than we’ve ever been,” Jackson said. “Everyone has been doing a great job and we’re in sync as a team. St. Louis was a great race for us and we beat (Janis) and (Tutterow). That’s what you like, trying to take out those guys yourself. But we’ve still got work to do. We’re not done yet, I don’t care how big of a points lead we have.”
It would take something miraculous for Janis or Tutterow to track down Jackson, but wild and unpredictable is the name of the game in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service. Jackson also has to deal with the likes of Jose Gonzalez, Sidnei Frigo, Khalid AlBalooshi and Indy winner Mike Castellana, but a Charlotte win would be extra meaningful. He was the runner-up at the four-wide race in 2018, crashing at the top end, and Jackson points to that race as the starting point to this championship journey.
“The beginning of this run started here when we crashed in 2018,” Jackson said. “We had to take some steps back and learn some stuff. After that adversity, we got really serious about trying to win this championship and we haven’t stopped swinging. It’s been a lot of work, but this is the most successful year we’ve had. Everybody is good at winning, but you find out who you are when you’re losing and trenched in misery. You have to go through that to appreciate winning.”
The Real Pro Mod Association (RPM) is the presenting sponsor for the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series race in Charlotte, as the class hits the last two races of a thrilling 2019 season with eight different winners. Featuring the world’s fastest doorslammer race cars, the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service 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.
The RPM Association was created by Pro Mod team owners and drivers to preserve and promote the future of the category, helping fuel strong participation and interest in the class.
The first of four E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service qualifying sessions takes place at 2:45 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. on Friday, and the final two rounds of qualifying take place on Saturday at 12:30 and 3:00 p.m. The first round of Pro Mod eliminations are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-455-FANS (3267). Tickets also are available online at www.zmaxdragway.com. Kids 13 and under are free with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on tickets at the gate.