Panic Motorsports owner is not only a great prep guy and driver, but also has “no quit in him”
Steve Strickland is a racer, competing in Touring 4 in a Mazda MX-5, and also helps out Mazda Motorsports in the Southeast by taking the parts trailer to the track. In those roles he has known Panic Motorsports’ owner Steve Bertok for almost 10 years as a competitor, a supplier and more.
“There’s a phrase I have used about him which is, ‘In Panic Motorsports, there is no panic,’ Strickland says. “What I mean is, no matter what happens at the track, he is one of the most clever and resourceful people in terms of keeping you running, getting you back on track and making sure you’ve done the best you can do on a given weekend. I have personal experience with him on weekends where I have had mechanical issues and there is absolutely no quit in him whatsoever; the car has got to be wadded up as small as a coffee can before he will throw in the towel.”
He lines up the perfect example, and it comes from when Strickland wasn’t a customer, but a competitor. Both he and Bertok were racing Spec Miata and paddocked near each other. Strickland, though, was having one of those weekends.
“I have seen him work on competitors’ cars until midnight,” he says. “The weekend I met him somebody crashed into my car and broke my suspension. I was loading the car up and he said, ‘Where are you going?’ I told him I got hit and was busted. He said, ‘I’ve got parts; you’re not leaving.’ He sold me the parts and we got the car running. I didn’t know him from Adam, I was just next to him in the paddock. And I’ve seen him do that for many other people.”