Drag Illustrated Issue 168, May 2021 - Page 78

BY NATE VAN WAGNEN /// PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRIS SEARS

WOMEN

OF POWER 2021

STEPHANIE LONG

THE BOSS OF RADIAL RACING

BY NATE VAN WAGNEN /// PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRIS SEARS
Stephanie Long vividly remembers the first Duck X Productions race she attended with her now husband , promoter Donald “ Duck ” Long . It was Lights Out 5 in 2014 , and the small-tire race was really starting to pick up steam . The race was just a couple years away from reaching legendary status , but it was obvious where the trend was heading .
Since then , Long has continuously increased her involvement in coordinating the events carried out by DXP and her own Boss X Productions brand . Along with Lights Out in February and No Mercy in the fall , DXP added Sweet 16 to the South Georgia Motorsports Park event lineup in 2018 . COVID-8 and Magic 8 , held at SGMP ’ s sister facility , Orlando Speed World Dragway , joined the mix in 2020 , adding up to a lot of extra effort .
“ In terms of work , it has increased immensely , but that is expected when you have the growth that we have ,” Long says . “ It ’ s just like any kind of product that has the notoriety and the fans . The bigger it gets , the more work it ’ s going to be to keep yourself not only above everybody else but also making your own product bigger and better . But when you ’ re passionate about something , it doesn ’ t matter how much work it is .”
Long doesn ’ t exactly come from a racing background , but the skills and personalities traits she ’ s developed in other fields have helped her bring something special to the race promotion table . She was a dancer and dance instructor for years before getting into competitive bodybuilding . Both activities contributed to her competitive drive and organizational skills , while her experience as a former teacher has helped her bring a new family-friendly aspect to DXP ’ s outlaw-style races .
During No Mercy last October , Long coordinated a massive kid ’ s Halloween costume contest and trick-or-treating in the pits since many towns cancelled Halloween festivities due to COVID-19 . Around 100 kids took part in the contest , with the winner taking home $ 500 . A Mardi Gras parade with beads and candy was added to Lights Out 12 in February , then an Easter egg hunt with over 900 eggs helped make Sweet 16 4.0 a memorable event for the families who attended it on Easter weekend .
“ I ’ m seeing more families come out and supporting the sport than I ’ ve ever seen before ,” says
Long , who also works with her husband to manage their portfolio of rental properties in Florida . “ They ’ re coming out because there are things to do for the whole family . They ’ re making it more about memories for the family than just the dad going out and doing his thing , if that makes sense .”
But all these activities for the kids haven ’ t taken away from the racer side of things . Quite the opposite , in fact . Long has led the charge on getting over-the-top trophies and prizes for the winners of DXP-promoted races . That includes custom shields for the winners of the COVID-8 shootouts , and most recently , custom thrones for the winners at Sweet 16 4.0 . In total , the couple dropped around $ 20,000 just on the trophies and prizes – not including the cash prizes – for the winners , but it ’ s money well spent when they see the winners proudly displaying the goods at other races and on social media .
“ It ’ s a huge thing for us to make sure that we stand out from everybody else ,” Long says . “ When we do decide to retire , we want people to look back and go , ‘ Wow , they really put their heart and soul into this .’ When you think back on those things , like the kids having a good time , and even seeing the racers ’ faces at Sweet 16 when they saw those thrones that I had specially ordered in for them to take around to other races and be like , ‘ Hey , I ’ m the king of Limited Drag Radial ,’ it gives you those chills again and pushes you forward .” DI
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