The drag racing community today is mourning the loss of one of its kindest, most gentle souls.
Marshfield, Missouri’s Tim Slavens passed on Friday morning following a weeks-long bout with COVID-19, during which the popular and well-respected racer and his family received an outpouring of support from fellow racers and fans around the country and the world.
The soft-spoken Slavens, who was always flashing a welcoming smile, made his mark in the radial-tire racing arena over the last half decade. He enjoyed what was perhaps the crowning achievement in his racing career in February of 2019, when he drove his stock-bodied, twin-turbo Camaro to what was then the quickest radial-tire pass in the history of the sport, a 3.621 at 217.74 mph, outpacing a host of better funded Pro Modified-style cars with his modest family-run operation. Slavens would go toe-to-toe with the sport’s best in the Radial versus The World category, coming within one win-light of victory at No Mercy 10, and earning legions of fans and the undying respect of his peers in the process. One of the great underdog success stories in the modern era of the sport, Slavens and his team overcame and endured, and in the fall of 2020, earned their first major victory at a DuckX Productions event when they scored the Pro275 title at the Sweet 16 3.0 in South Georgia.
By day, Slavens was the manager of a Wal-Mart store in Marshfield, where he was as loved and respected by his employees as he was by his fellow racers on the weekend. His unique role in the racing community cheekily earned him the nickname “Wal-Mart greeter” by radial-tire promoter Donald Long.
Following months of work behind the scenes, Slavens had only just realized his dream of entering the Pro Modified arena in early December, when he debuted and successfully qualified his brand new “Wolverine II” Camaro at the Snowbird Outlaw Nationals in Florida. Within days he was stricken by illness and ultimately left the world a lesser place.
“Today was a day I never thought would happen. Today I know my dad’s in heaven and at peace and rest from all the pain his body went through,” said Slavens’ daughter, Hannah. “It’s hard to know why God puts us in a situation like this, but I know we are at peace knowing dad is healthy now and enjoying his heavenly life. I know my dad did everything possible in this world and left the impact that God called him to leave. I love you dad. You’re my best friend and I’m so blessed to have you as my father. Now you’re in the best hands in the world and living the life you deserve.”
Son Tyler echoed those sentiments, sharing, “I never thought I’d see this day. You did so much for me. You never gave up on me. You pushed me to do things even when I didn’t want to. I miss all the memories and things we did. Working on racecars. Going to sporting events. Teaching me how to be a godly man and adult. You loved without ceasing. Not only did I lose a dad I lost my best friend and my hero. You never stopped loving me. Your last words to me were I love you more than you will ever know. I hope you have a big mansion up in heaven because that’s exactly what you deserve for the type of man you were down here. You always helped others and it’s clear to see how much of an impact your life and story had on people you may have never gotten the chance to meet. If you never got the pleasure of meeting my dad just know you missed out on the most amazing caring man. I hope someday I can be a quarter of the man you were. You will always be number one to me.”
Our hearts are with the family of and the close-knit team that surrounded Tim Slavens. He was one of the good ones, and we all share the grief of their loss.