In a shock announcement one of the biggest names in Australian professional Drag Racing, Brett Stevens has announced he will retire from full time race driving and cease operating his team at the end of 2008.
Stevens, 43, leaves the sport as one of the most successful and influential professional racers in it’s history. Over a career spanning 18 years, he has multiple National Championships, World Records, National Records and Strip Records to his and his team’s name.
In addition to his on-track presence, Stevens also single-handedly changed the face of the sport with his new levels of showmanship and professionalism off the track that have helped make him into an Australian motorsport icon.
Stevens said that the decision had been an extremely difficult one to make.
“This is one of the biggest decisions of my life and it has not come easily. I’ve put a lot of thought into it and for those that know me and my passion for the sport, my fans, my team and my sponsors would know how difficult this has been.”
“I am extremely proud of what I have accomplished as a professional racer and I am at the point of my career where I am at the top. Retirement is not something that I have considered until recently however I have always promised myself that if I wasn’t enjoying myself and the challenges that the sport presented I would step aside.”
“Over many years I have also been the subject of many malicious and false rumour and innuendo, including personal attacks and threats on myself, my family, employees and sponsors which are taking an unprecedented toll on both my personal and professional wellbeing.”
“I have made a decision now though to look to the future for both myself and my family, and while this decision ends one phase of my career, I’m confident it will also open doors to many new opportunities.”
“I have made some fantastic lifelong friendships throughout my career in motorsport and I want to thank everyone who has accompanied, supported and inspired me over the years, including my fans, sponsors and crew. Above all, a special thanks goes to my wife Kath and my daughter Skye, who have given me the strength to do what I have done.”
Operating at the elite levels of the sport, in 2008 Stevens commanded the largest motorsport team in the country and the largest Drag Racing team anywhere in the world with 10 Group One vehicles. He is also the only person in the world to compete in three professional Drag Racing brackets simultaneously; Top Bike, Top Doorslammer and Top Alcohol.
A motor mechanic by trade, Stevens began his long and successful career as a drag racer in 1990 when he travelled to the United States and purchased his first Nitro Harley Top Fuel Motorcycle from good friend and Drag Racing legend, the late Jim McClure.
In 1993 his team first became known as Jack Daniel’s Racing in a relationship that still stands today lasting 15 years. Over that time Stevens developed one of the most feared reputations on the drag strip for his racing innovations and skills on both 2 and 4 wheels.
But while Stevens may be lost to the sport of Drag Racing, In Pit Lane has news that the withdrawal may be clearing the path for Stevens to set up a V8 Supercar operation.
As one of the hardest working men in Aussie motorsport Stevens has developed a strong and loyal fan base as well as establishing good relationships with most of his sponsors. It is rumoured that one of those sponsors were looking towards the national exposure provided by V8 Supercar racing.
In spite of it’s enthusiastic fan base and large crowds, the facts are that at the moment Drag Racing at the professional level is confined to three states of Australia only, and despite an impressive TV package, ratings compared with the major V8 rounds are fairly small.
What ever happens, Stevens will be missed by the sport of Drag Racing as well as by his fans and those of us in the media who have had the pleasure of his company over the years.
Back in the days when Drag Racing was a regular part of Melbourne’s motorsport diet, Stevens was a regular guest on In Pit Lane and always impressed with his professionalism and showmanship.
They’re values currently in short supply in the world of the V8s so any move by “The Boss” to start turning left and right will be most welcome.
Stevens record in Drag Racing is without par, a recipient of the Australian Sports Medal for his contributions to motorsport he was also an inaugural inductee into the Australian Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
In 29 National Championships contested across 3 professional race brackets spanning his illustrious career, Stevens never finished outside the top 6 with 3 National Championships, 8 runner ups, 7 third places, 6 fourth places, 3 fifth places and 2 sixth places to his name. He also made an incredible 70 Final Round appearances.
Stevens also devotes a lot of his time and resources to charity involvements including the Kids with Cancer Foundation and the Leukaemia Foundation of which he is an Official Patron.
with ANDRA Press Release