IRONDALE, Ala. (WIAT) — A celebration was held Thursday for an Irondale-based professional drag racing team after the lead technician helped the crew to victory following his battle with COVID-19.
In 2020, we told you about Ervin “Jock” Allen, a 28-year-old man from Jasper who was eventually hospitalized with the virus.
Allen’s mother, Candace, died from COVID-19, but Jock was released after about 24 days on a ventilator.
“It took a couple of months just to get my stamina up just to walk,” said Allen.
Allen is the lead technician for Steve Johnson Racing, in the National Hot Rod Association. He worked hard to regain his strength after his release but said it has been a challenge.
“To this day every once and a while, I catch myself short of breath still,” Allen said.
With a passion for “fixing” anything, Allen said it was difficult to have to watch his friends and team members from the sidelines.
“Once I felt good as far as breathing wise, as far as, ‘I can do stuff’, it is still that feeling of, ‘do you want to be around people?’ Allen said.
Allen eventually began traveling with the racing team again. A major victory was elusive until an event in Charlotte in mid-May.
Steve Johnson Racing won a major race for the first time since 2014, with the help of Jock and the team.
“For us, going through a pandemic, Jock losing his mom, and then 24 days on a ventilator and then us trying to build our own engines against all the big million dollar teams, this trophy in Charlotte, this win is the most prestigious,” said Johnson.
For Allen, the victory was even more special because of the competition.
“That race right there was the quickest field in pro stock motorcycle history, the quickest, and we won it,” said Allen.
After the win, Allen took the trophy to UAB hospital to share with the doctors and nurses who helped him recover.
“That’s their trophy and this is what they helped me get to. The love that was shown to me when I got back to the race was unbelievable,” he said.
Allen also recently married his fiancé after the pandemic ruined plans for their ceremony last year.
“Every week she will post on social media, Happily Ever Allen,” said Allen
After the celebration, Allen and Steve Johnson Racing plan to turn attention to preparing for the next race in Ohio later this month.