Shelby Sheedy, seen here in a Crate race at Magnolia Motor Speedway in 2016, has since moved to Super Late Models. Photo by: David Miller/Special to The Dispatch Buy this photo.
April 14, 2017 10:00:09 AM
FRENCH CAMP -- It has been a rough first two months in Super Late Models for Shelby Sheedy.
After three years racing Crate Late Models, Sheedy, 23, fulfilled a lifelong dream of racing Super Late Models when he sold his sealed motor and bought an open motor in the winter.
"Growing up and going to the tracks, the Super Late Model scene was something I always wanted to be a part of," Sheedy said. "I saw we were making some progress with Crates, but the opportunity arose to make that jump, so I decided to do it."
Sheedy knew what he was getting into competing in the Mississippi State Championship Challenge Series. The top Super Late Model series in Mississippi often draws drivers from neighboring states. Shelby has failed to make the feature field in all three State Series races this year. The results have been sobering, but each night at the track has yielded valuable data, Sheedy said.
"It's been a struggle," Sheedy said. "We ran both nights at Greenville last weekend and had a decent effort in the heat, but we missed the feature by one spot. We made adjustments for the next night but didn't do well.
"I don't have a lot of laps at those tracks; I hadn't been to Greenville in a couple of years. But we're gathering notes and having a start point for gear selection and suspension."
Sheedy will attempt to make his first State Series feature Saturday at Magnolia Motor Speedway, the first of consecutive State Series races in the Golden Triangle. Columbus Speedway will play host its first State Series race of the season next Friday. Sheedy said a top-10 finish would be "a win" considering Magnolia is a home track. Sheedy finished in the top 10 at the Golden Egg Classic at The Mag and got caught up in a wreck and didn't finish in his other appearance this season.
"We have a couple of other practice sessions there, too," Sheedy said. "We feel more confident going into this weekend. We've learned a lot this year and have good notes, but we need to fast out of the gate. You gotta be on your toes from when you unload through the end of the night."
Sheedy had a good starting point for the jump to Super Late Models -- he had three solid years in Crates, and he bought a new car for the 2016 season. Even with the help of car-builder Trak-Star; his father, Glenn; his brother, Riley; and long-time friend Alan Schultz, Sheedy faced a tough learning curve last year.
"On top of the competition, the maintenance and learning about the car, the biggest thing is being on the dirt and chasing the conditions of the track to stay on top of it," Sheedy said in 2016. "You may unload and be really fast, but if you don't change with the track, you'll go from hero to zero really quick."
Sheedy said the learning curve this year hasn't been the as big because he has the same car with a different, more powerful motor. There's a bit more maintenance each week, and having an open motor allows them to address issues in the shop.
"We're new to all of that," Sheedy said, "but overall, it's not a lot more than what we've been running."
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