Much has already been said and written about Nate Stacy. Touted as the “The Next Tin-Top Superstar” by motorsports.com, Nate has also been recognized by the series and his peers as the “real deal”.
At the beginning of the season, Stacy was still somewhat new to the GTS class. He had run half a season under the Rehagen banner with fellow driver and mentor Dean Martin. During the off season, Martin struck out on his own, forming KohR Motorsports and agreed to manage and support Jack Roush Jr. and his Roush Performance Road Racing team for a full season in the Pirelli World Challenge. Stacy would be brought on as team mate to run under the Roush banner.
“Pirelli World Challenge GTS 2016, has been an incredible season,” reflects Stacy. “It was exciting to be moving up from Touring Car, but I was kinda anxious too. I owe a lot of thanks to Dean Martin and Jack Roush who put a lot of trust in me this season. I wanted to do well for the team, my mom and dad, and me. It was difficult at first. Previously, my crew had been one mechanic and an engineer, but now I was Jack Roush Jr’s teammate, had two engineers, a team manager, a car chief, mechanics, and someone that looked after tires. I was representing an international brand, and in competition with some veterans and well seasoned drivers: Lawson Aschenbach, Tony Gaples, and Brett Sandberg, to name a few. The first races were difficult as the series tried to get a read on the BOP (balance of performance) and I got used to the changes.”
This season would turn out to be Stacy’s breakout year, with two podium finishes and a “Hard Charger” awarded in each of the first four races of the season. He finished fourteen times in the top-ten and visited the podium nine times in 2016, winning four 3rd place finishes, four 2nd place finishes, and a flag-to-flag win at Sonoma. His 3rd place podium finish in last race of the season at Laguna Seca clinched the Manufacturers Championship for Ford, the GTS Team Championship for Roush Performance Road Racing, and moved him into to second place in the GTS Drivers Championship. He also won the “Hard Charger” award in a total of five races throughout the season: Circuit of the Americas, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, both races at Lime Rock Park, and at Mid-Ohio. In the last race of the season he had to start near the back of the grid when the team had to replace two tires, the result of an incident during qualifying. He finished the race in 3rd after passing seventeen cars. Overall, he passed more cars then any other driver in 2016 and earned the “Hard Charger” of the year award.
Jeff Lepper, Marketing Manager for the Pirelli World Challenge and CBS Sports Network Commentator had this to say about Stacy, “The way he handles himself in the car, his race craft is way beyond for the years he has been racing. Driving the Mustang Boss 302s, may be seen as disadvantage on paper against the newer GT4 platforms, but racing a fully developed platform is a bit of an advantage especially in the hands of Nate. I am a huge fan of Nate. To see how he handles himself both on and off the track really confirms the strength of road racing in the future.”
As the Pirelli World Challenge season came to a close we asked Stacy what his plans are for 2017. “I’ve been offered several opportunities, but it has to be the right thing for me. I know what I’d like to do, and what I have to do to get there. I also know I still have a lot to learn about racing. For now I’m enjoying what I accomplished this season. ”