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|Fort Worth, Texas|
|Fantasy Garage, U.S. Army Reserve|
|Company Commander and UH-60 Pilot, A Company, 1st Battalion, 169th Aviation Regiment, USAR, Ft. Bragg, NC.|
|Crystal’s Stuffed Shells|
Favorite TV show:
|“The Big Lebowski”|
|“Band of Brothers”|
|Circuit of the Americas|
|Mark Donohue’s 1971 AMC Javelin Trans Am|
Jason Stanley leads the Southeast Region’s 944 Spec class with military precision, and he is always thinking ahead. It might have something to do with his day job, in which Stanley pilots Army Black Hawk helicopters and must plan for the unexpected at 140 mph.
When Stanley joined the Army as a commissioned officer, he knew that moving was part of the job, but he still wanted to race. So he studied the classes in NASA and decided 944 Spec had the best prospects no matter where he lived in the U.S.
“I surveyed what kind of classes were popular, and I wanted a good representation in different portions of the country where I would go,” Stanley said. “Based on my survey, it was the 944 Spec class.”
Stanley is now on a mission to grow the 944 Spec class in the Southeast Region after taking over as the Series Leader. Leading a group of racers who already have a strong camaraderie, Stanley is promoting education, preparedness and financial incentives to build the ranks. Fellow racers say Stanley’s enthusiasm is noticeable, especially his willingness to help the racers improve their performance on the racetrack.
“(Jason) will wrench on other guy’s cars or share his video and racing line and shift points with anybody,” said Pete Yousko of Rock Hill, N.C., who competes in the 944 Spec series. “I don’t want to say it’s unique, but I don’t think everybody wants to do that.”
Stanley was practically born to race cars while growing up in Texas. His father raced a Formula Ford and his neighbor was a drag racer. He was attending races by age 8.
“My dad has pictures of me sitting in his Formula Ford before I can even remember,” Stanley said.
He raced go-karts as a youth, but gave it up so he could focus on academics after entering the ROTC program at Texas A&M University in College Station. “I got to wear a uniform to class everyday — it’s military lifestyle living—but on the weekend you’re a normal college student,” Stanley said. “It was the best of both worlds.”
While attending flight school after college, Stanley was participating in high-performance driving events in a Corvette he purchased from his brother. After blowing out a tire and destroying the rear fiberglass panel, Stanley decided it was time to buy a dedicated racecar.
Stanley bought a race-ready Porsche and quickly had one of the faster cars in the 944 Spec series. It’s not a surprise since flying a Black Hawk helicopter requires fast reflexes and a steady hand under pressure.
“Being able to anticipate things that are developing is a large part of being successful as a pilot and as a racer,” Stanley said.
Stationed at Army’s Fort Bragg base in North Carolina, Captain Stanley is the Company Commander of a reserve unit that has eight UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and 70 soldiers. He still regularly pilots the twin-engine, four-blade helicopter ferrying high-ranking officials, moving large equipment and providing support to troops on the ground.
With his military background and strong organizational skills, Stanley’s peers tapped him to lead the 944 Spec class in NASA Southeast. Stanley has jumped into the job with gusto and a long-term plan to grow the class.
He’s pushing to get at least 10 cars to each race so the 944 Spec class can have its own start and more drivers can reap the benefits of NASA’s contingency program. Ideally, Stanley would like at least 15 regulars, so the class is self-sustaining. Stanley also holds driver development programs during race weekends and shares the contingency prizes he’s won — tires and brake pads — with his fellow competitors. He’ll even jump into their cars to help them squeeze out added speed.
“He hit the ground running and has put a ton of energy into it,” said Jim Pantas, NASA’s Southeast Regional Director. “He really works hard at trying to get more people in it.”
Stanley believes that if the racers are having fun, that will attract more drivers to the class. That’s why he stresses to the group to make repairs to the cars before showing up at the track. In turn the drivers will see improved lap times and are more likely to return, he said.
“With my background … it’s be prepared and come to the track prepared,” Stanley said. “Rather than having a late Friday night to get ready for the race, get the work done at home and make the race that much more enjoyable.”
One of the existing programs in the Southeast Region’s 944 Spec class is where new drivers are invited to the “Chicken Shack” garage in Georgia, and the seasoned drivers get together to work on a newbie’s car. It’s this camaraderie that Stanley says only helps the new-driver recruiting process.
Although the drivers are friendly in the pits, they are competitive on the track. Stanley emphasizes to the drivers to make smart decisions on the track and leave a proper distance between cars.
“At the end of the day, if we’re all going home with the cars in one piece, does it really matter what the finishing position was if we all had fun?” he said. And Stanley has fun whether it’s in a Black Hawk helicopter or on the racecourse.
“What I like about both flying and driving is integrating with the machine and getting the most out of the machine that you can,” he said. “They both have their rewards and satisfaction levels.”