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Chris Shelton Shows that Dreams Do Come True
“I started five years ago, and jumped right into it,” Shelton shared how his racing career began. “(I) wanted to do it for a long time… (I’m) living the dream.”
I’ve always been a driver,” Shelton shared. “Ever since I was little… (I always played on) three-wheelers and hot wheels as a kid.”
Growing up in a military family, it was hard to find a track in every town they moved to, but that problem was soon solved when the family relocated to Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He soon found his racing fix at near-by Clarksville Speedway. “Clarksville was really the only track open at that time,” he added.
Shelton grew up watching several of the drivers he competes against today. “I grew up watching Randy Sellars, Tony Albright, and the English’s. (It was) all I ever wanted to do,” Shelton said.
In fact, one of Shelton’s fondest memories of racing came when he was at the Show-Me 100 in West Plains, Missouri. “Randy Sellars was changing a gear and still had time to talk to us,” Shelton shared.
Sellars is only one of Shelton’s role models. “Tony Albright is my favorite driver. I always wanted to race against him… he (Albright) said it makes him feel old,” Shelton laughed. He also watched Tait (Davenport) and his dad race Late Models at Clarksville, “It’s good to be around these guys again,” Shelton added.
With all the rich history of Shelton’s racing connections, he credits a man named Wayne Flint with having the biggest influence on his own career. “He helped out so much. At first I couldn’t get the car to turn left. He really helped out,” Shelton commented. Another person who has helped Shelton with his racing career is his cousin, David Gainey.
Shelton’s first win came in a Feature last August at Clarksville Speedway. “(It was) kinda like… it happened so fast and was over so fast,” Shelton laughed. “(We) started fifth and passed four cars including Tony Albright… (I) can’t believe I did it… (It was) a neat feeling!”
Shelton continued on what happened during that night’s Dash, “(The) bottom would work, but I couldn’t pass on the bottom.”
Shelton went on to win his first Dash at Clarksville Speedway earlier this year. (“We’ve) gone faster, but tore a lot more up this year,” he added.
He credits his racing family with coming together to help him out when his car was totaled a few weeks ago at Paducah International Raceway. “The McBride’s let me borrow a car,” Shelton said.
Now he is replacing a motor in preparation for this Friday’s USA World 50. Shelton credits his girlfriend, Abbey, for being very supportive and not letting him give up. “(She) said, ‘you’ve got to do something to get it fixed so we can run next week,’” he laughed.
Along with his girlfriend, his cousin also comes to the races regularly. Shelton’s mom and dad still live in South Carolina. One of his crew members, Robert Burcham, who also raced 4-Cylinders, was recently deployed to Afghanistan.
Shelton races regularly at both PIR and Clarksville, where he finished second in points last year, losing the Championship by a mere five points. He has also raced a couple of Summer National races at tracks including Belle Clair, Camden, and Clay Hill. “We try to stay within 100-200 miles,” he shared. For the 2010 season at PIR, he had five Top-10 Feature finishes and finished 12th in Championship points standings.
Where does Shelton see his career five years down the road? “Still in a Late Model,” he said, “(I hope) to make big shows locally and run consistently,” he continued.
“Still doing it and I haven’t gone broke… I’ll be good,” Shelton shared on his racing aspirations 10-years down the road.
Shelton, who now calls Paducah, Kentucky home, has run a Modified in Tennessee. He currently drives the #16 Super Late Model sponsored by Rose Garden Florist, the Counseling Center, Gainey Motorsports, Western Business Equipment, and now McBride Mack Sales. He and his girlfriend own and operate Rose Garden Florist. He also runs Shelton Transportation for Ingram Barge. He also admits that with his full schedule, he does not have a lot of time for any other hobbies. “Racing’s about it… (it’s) another full-time job,” Shelton added.
Racing is a dream come true for Chris Shelton. Come to Paducah International Raceway on Friday nights and see him live his dream while chasing another win on the track.
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