By Roger Diez
If you're out and about in the near future, cruise by the AC Delco store on Highway 50 East in Carson City and check out the Modified race car just inside the front door.
The car is owned by Robby Shelton, but it could be yours if you have a yen to go racing. It's an asphalt car, which means a bit of a tow for a racer from this area. All it needs is an engine and it's ready to go.
I mention this car because last week I had the occasion to visit the shop of Shelton Racing and Fabrication, just across Highway 50 from AC Delco in the industrial complex. The father/son team of Tom and Robby Shelton are making their extensive racing experience available to whoever wants a fast, well set-up racecar or a good-handling street rod or custom vehicle.
Tom has over 40 years' experience in the racing business, primarily on oval tracks. In addition to being a winning driver in his own right, he has worked with drivers like racing legend Herschel McGriff. Son Robby was building race cars before he could legally drive. The pair can do just about anything on a racecar or hot rod except bodywork and engine building.
If you need a roll cage, sheet metal fabrication, restoration, custom wiring, performance parts, or complete race car setup using computer scales, Shelton Racing and Fabrication is the place to go. They will even build you a race car trailer if you need one.
Even if you don't need work on your racecar right now, drop by and check out the shop. The coffee pot is always on, and the shop is a virtual museum of stock car racing history. Tom and Robby are always happy to do a little bench racing as well. The shop is at 3579 Highway 50 East, # 314, and the phone numbers are 775-230-3358 or 775-720-9516. If you want to send them an email, the address is [ mailto:email@example.com ]firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The racing season has officially begun, when the green flag waved yesterday on the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. If you want to catch the finish, the checker will wave at 10 a.m. local time today.
The finish will have to go some to top Tony Stewart's gutsy drive of three years ago, when he carried a Daytona Prototype with broken suspension to within a lap of the checker before the thing finally collapsed under him. Stewart, along with a number of his NASCAR colleagues and open-wheel hot shoes from Champ Car, Indy Racing League, and Formula 1 are taking part in what has become the real "International Race of Champions" (apologies to the contrived IROC series).
• It is no surprise to anyone that the domestic automakers are in trouble. Sales are down, inventories are up, and plants are closing or moving out of the country in an effort to stem the tide of red ink. Both General Motors and Ford have lost billions in the past couple of years, and Chrysler isn't far behind.
So what does this mean to racing? Well, for one thing it means that the Champ Car World Series will be looking for a new engine supplier. Ford Motor Company, after a thirty-year association with Champ Car, is severing ties with the sanctioning body. The split is not entirely about economics, according to a Ford spokesman, but has to do with Champ Car's termination of the pace car team (all Fords, of course) in favor of two-seater Formula 1 cars for VIP rides.
There's also the fact that Ford's "current business objectives" lean more towards regaining their competitiveness in NASCAR's Nextel Cup series. Rumors have Champ Car officials talking to Hyundai, Mazda, and Cadillac as possible replacements for Ford.
• When the Busch series takes to the track next month at Daytona, you'll want to make sure that you have a high-definition TV. ESPN will broadcast the entire Busch season, as well as the last 17 Nextel Cup races in high definition, including the in-car cameras. Now all you'll need to get a realistic driving experience in your living room is a shaker table to sit on to simulate the G forces, and a guy with a sledgehammer to whack your helmet when the car you're watching smacks the wall.