Stevie “Fast” Jackson was scheming on Friday night. His plotting wasn’t anything unethical or underhanded; he simply didn’t want to race his “teammate” Marcus Birt anytime before the final round, at the Duck X Productions Magic Eight event in Orlando, Fla.
Headed into the sixth and final qualifying session, Jackson was third while the nitrous car he tunes, piloted by Marcus Birt was at the top of the list. If he dropped one spot in the order, he could fall to fourth, and the two would be on a course to possibly meet in the semis.
Jackson could have tried to be on the safe side, but finishing second in anything isn’t the way he rolls. In true “Stevie Fast” form the popular doorslammer racer swung his bat and delivered a shot into the upper deck with a 3.582 elapsed time at 210.93 miles per hour.
“I wasn’t necessarily going to try to be number one,” Jackson admitted. “I was just trying not to be four. These are fast cars, and it’s a really tight field, and to have the most possible chance of success, my goal was to get my nitrous car and the Shadow on opposite sides of the ladder. So the additional sessions by the Shadow were more about that than anything.”
Jackson could have gone to second, third, sixth or seventh. His competitive nature wouldn’t allow him to settle for anything less than the best.
“I want to smash everybody I race every single time I go to the starting line,” Jackson explained. “We’ve got some unusual radial tire conditions here in Florida for this race. We usually run these things at night, and the air’s normally pretty good when we run them, and we’re dealing with a supercharged combination that doesn’t run well on 135 water grains.”
Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it. Right now the conditions expected for Saturday evening eliminations is likely to favor the nitrous car.
“Me and Billy Stocklin are kind of combing through the engine part of the run and the car set up trying to find ET that I’m going to need if I run my nitrous car if I run myself again, which is always the goal,” Jackson said.
“The fans deserve us to work that hard to try to give them a show.”
Make no bones about it, Jackson’s crew chief Stocklin has no reservations about pushing his driver.
“I was talking to Billy Stocklin on the way back to the hotel last night, and he was just bawling me out because I had a bad light in the last run. The whole time he’s talking trash to me like he does. He starts his pregame the night before.
“I told him, ‘I wish I could just take you for a ride in this thing at night. You can’t see anything. I have no idea where I’m going. There’s smoke everywhere because you’re blowing the motor up. The front end’s in the air. Like that thing will eat you and kill you. And I just would love to just look over at you at the 330 mark and see how you’re doing in this thing.”
Jackson races Norman Bryston in Saturday’s first round of eliminations. In other matches, Birt faces off with Daniel Ray; Bryan Markiewicz races Jeff Miller, and David Reese squares off against nitrous-hitter Jamie Hancock.
Over in X275, Blake Copson has been having quite the weekend as well.
Copson, behind the wheel of Manny Buginga’s Mustang, laid down a 4.268 in the Q-5 session to continue his domination of X-275 division. He led qualifying in all six sessions.
“It’s been a privilege and honor to drive Manny’s car for him at The Magic 8,” Copson said. “The team he assembled is amazing and I’ll do my very best to put ‘Big Red’ in the winner’s circle. Big props to Jamie Miller , Johnny Drama and Tim Davis for getting this car ready to rock n roll.”
Pro 275 racer Chris Daniel saved his best for last as he took the top spot in the final session, running a 3.827 elapsed time at 193.77. Eric Dilliard, driving another one of Buginga’s cars, was second with a 3.842.