The “silly season” is in full swing! Wishes, rumors, half lies and speculations as to what will be happening in 2016 circle teams and drivers. What we do know is that the unknown, “rookie driver” is no more. Starting his season in Touring Car was seen as a big step by some. Finishing the season in GTS wasn’t even on the radar.
The team ran the Volvo for two Touring Car events, Circuit of the Americas and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) with good results. But the “test weekend” at Barber Motorsports Park changed everything for 2015.
During the “all classes” event at CTMP, Dean Martin, owner and driver for Rehagen Racing had a chat with Nate’s father / team owner, Mike Stacy about putting him in a Mustang Boss 302s for the rest of the season. Opportunities like this do not happen often, it would be a big step up.
The Mustang that Nate would be driving had more horse power then the total of his three previous rides. He would also be mixing it up with a larger field of more seasoned drivers.
Dean had seen something in Nate when he tested the car at Barber Motorsports Park a few weeks before. With very few hours in the car, Nate ran his first GTS race and showed maturity and “race sense” throughout the doubleheader weekend. He brought the car across the finish line, unscathed, mid-pack in both races. Throughout the rest of the season Nate posted similar results, learning the car and how to get the best out of it. His best being a 5th place finish at Sonoma, a track he had never been to before.
At 15 years old Nate is seen as a perfect example of the “ladder” system that the series has created. His natural talent and dedication to his craft has accelerated his move up from Touring Car B into Touring Car and then GTS in just a season and a half. Nate has raced 11 of the 17 GTS races and finished 16th out of 38 drivers. He accumulated 631 driver’s points, averaging 70 pts a race, by the end of the season. Quite an accomplishment for someone who started racing competitively only 3 years ago. His learning curve has been near vertical since stepping up to the Mustang, but his ability to learn and adapt quickly has kept him on pace with the GTS field. Having teammates to share data and video with has helped, and Nate has also been learning to better explain to the engineers how his car is handling, a skill vital to preparing the car to race at the assortment of tracks the series competes at. Overall 2015 was a breakout year for Nate, he raced two different platforms well, joined a seasoned race team and became a point contributor to Fords Manufacturers Championship.
So what does 2016 look like for Nate Stacy Racing? “As a team we really enjoy the atmosphere and competition in the Pirelli World Challenge. The series, the paddock and the fans have been extremely supportive.” said team owner Mike Stacy, “As an up and coming driver, Nate has earned the respect of his peers and his growth as a professional driver accelerated once he moved into GTS with Reghagen Racing. We’d like to continue with PWC, but we are always willing to explore opportunities.”