Stox Personality of the Year 2017: Nominee #1

Four personalities have been shortlisted for the 2017 F1Stockcars.com Stox Personality of the Year award. This time, the nominees were chosen by last year’s winner, Mick Sworder.

One nominee will be announced each day for the next 4 days – so make sure you keep checking the site!

How to vote

Once all nominations have been announced, you will be able to vote for your favourite via the F1Stockcars.com website. Voting will open on Saturday 9 December and will close at midnight on Saturday 16 December. The winner will be announced on Sunday 17 December.

Nominee #1: Stuart Smith Junior

“If someone wants to start a war, they can. But they will lose…”

That was the fighting talk coming from Stuart Smith Junior on the eve of the National Points Championship Shootout finale at Belle Vue. History records that nobody did want to start a war with him that day. Smith wrapped up the title that everybody already knew was his with two heat wins on the bounce. Such was Smith’s determination to win the title in style that he attempted a risky last-bender on James Morris. And it worked. Everything came together perfectly and Smith won the Shootout for the second time, but it was the most comprehensive victory since the Shootout was dreamed up in 2009.

The joy that Smith felt at winning the Shootout was matched on the terraces too. Fans of the Rochdale Smiths have been starved of silverware for too long, but winning the silver roof – and the manner in which Stuart did it – seems to have rejuvenated them. There is talk of reviving the Zigger Zagger crew that used to chant the name of Stuart Senior, perhaps even setting up a modern-day fan club. That would be welcome. A bit of partisanship and friendly rivalry might bring a bit of colour back to the terraces, especially given the gloom that has pervaded since the Coventry debacle.

Everybody will remember Smith’s run to silver, but don’t forget that he won the final in two out of the first six meetings – admittedly starting from red grade, but making full use of the advantage – which saw him top the grading points after the first period. Although Frankie Wainman Junior and Nigel Green eventually elbowed their way past, Smith remained in the top three for the rest of the year.

His statistical achievements make impressive reading and signal a consistency that has been missing for the past few seasons. He had the second-highest points-per-meeting average (behind Green), second-highest number of shale points (behind Wainman), second-highest number of final wins (behind Green again), third-highest number of tarmac points (behind Green and Wainman), and the highest number of overall race wins (26 compared to Green’s 22).

 

We caught up with SSJ shortly after the end of the season and asked him about his year behind the wheel:

It’s been your best season for some time – have you done anything differently this year?

I have some really good lads behind me at the minute. That enabled me to be dedicated without sacrificing too much time away from work. It’s all down to the team as a whole, the sponsors and the fans.

Why do you think nobody was able to challenge you for the National Points Shootout?

I have never blown up my own arse, I’m not like that, but I have always been one to beat. It’s just that everything else has to be in the right place at the right time. What I mean by that is work, money, family, equipment team sponsors, etc… However, at this particular time I believe I have driven better than anyone else too!

What’s your approach to races?

To win at all costs within the spirit of the sport. That is what is great about the sport – we should race hard and never take it off track.

You’re well known for being aggressive when the situation calls for it and you carved through the field like a man on a mission during the Shootout. Do you think other drivers are prepared to use the bumper enough?

I think everyone can use the bumper well. Some do it more calculated than others which seems go to under the radar, but everyone is willing to use it.

Words: Scott Reeves
Photos: Colin Casserley

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