For a time, Brett Stevens was as big a deal as was humanly possible in the world of Australian motorsports and we mean that literally. He ran nitro harley motorcycles, competed in top door slammer, had a blown burnout machine he took to events, he raced alcohol funny car, and his peak, virtually every one of those vehicles had the Jack Daniels company logo down the side.
When the drag racing was flying he owned millions in property, an excavation company, a concrete trucking company, a tattoo shop, a company that chartered boats, and he was even manufacturing parts. Unfortunately at some point, the empire was not self supporting and Brett Stevens has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for his involvement in a drug ring that was manufacturing and selling MDMA (ecstasy) pills on Australia’s east coast. It is a pretty incredible story, especially the current chapter because the guy was such a rock star it is nearly impossible to draw a direct comparison to someone here in the USA.
While at this point it is all an academic discussion, the ANDRA (Australian National Drag Racing Association) stripped Stevens of all his titles when the walls started to cave in on him. Many racing fans were furious at this action because they didn’t think his activities off the track had any bearing on his successes on it. While that’s a point that can be debated for days, the larger story here is where Stevens will be spending the next 13 years.
According to Australia’s TheGuardian.com, the judge went heavy on the sentence for Stevens as a deterrent to others who may be heading down the same path. Apparently this 13 year stint is far harsher than others have received in the past. The Guardian story is fascinating because it really delves into the bones of the operation and when you see the size and scope of what they are reporting and how involved Stevens was in its management the one time drag racer takes on a much more Tony Soprano look.
American drag racing’s most high profile disaster involving a single person was clearly Evan Knoll and Torco Oil. He’s in federal prison on a term that is slated to be about twice what Stevens is slated to serve in Australia due to stealing tens of millions of dollars of tax money from the government. Over in England, a female pro mod racer Amanda Cox was sentenced to five years in prison for stealing nearly 1.75 million British pounds from a company she was keeping the books for.