If we’ve learned anything in watching Steve Jackson during his many years of grudge and class racing — beyond the fact that he’s undoubtedly the best trash-talker in the game, who could have a second career in comedy if he so chose — it’s that he doesn’t often back down from a challenge. Especially if there’s a little money involved. And it’s likely for that very reason why he agreed to take on a car that, at least on paper, he was outgunned by from nose to tail at Mike Hill’s Battle of the Big Dawgs earlier this month.
Jackson, driving Phil Shulers’ now-famous Fox body Mustang known as “The Shadow”, took on veteran racer Marcus Birt in his nitrous oxide-assisted Pro Modified 1963 Corvette in a grudge match that ended unpredictably but not all that surprisingly.
The Shadow, with its screw-blown, Brad Anderson HEMI under the hood, has been 3.99 in competition on 315 drag radials, but its perhaps only in the engine department that he had Birt covered. The Corvette, meanwhile, had a full tube chassis, weight, wheelie bars, and tires all in its favor. But with the mind-boggling performance of today’s radial cars, it seems that many of the factors that once gave a Pro Modified car a huge advantage over a back-half, small-tire car, are now almost nonexistent.
And in this race, they were nonexistent. Jackson, not unexpectedly given the difference in power management styles, trailed the nitrous car early, but once the coals started being poured into the HEMI, it was a drag race, as Jackson roared past Birt and lit the Carolina Dragway scoreboard with the big “W”. And everyone in the stands that gambled that a heavy, small-tire car couldn’t beat a Pro Mod begrudgingly handed their gas and rent money over to the guy that knew Steve Jackson better than that.
Video courtesy FreeLifeFilms