Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Shadow Racing Farewell...Godspeed

Don't look back...always forward to the next journey. 

This is a difficult blog to write considering it's the last blog entry from Shadow Racing Team. After much consideration...we have decided that it's time for us to retire from full time racing. This has been a difficult decision as it's been a dream that has been chased since Justin was 9 years old. We know that this will come as a shock to many people but God has called us to a different road and we are extremely excited to pursue new dreams and passions.

What a journey! From humble beginnings of championship go-kart racing with the race kart strapped to the top of the wagon. Running a limited funded 360 team that made it to almost every race in the ASCS Rocky Mountain division and many National Sprint Races across the country along with local racing with the 305s. And of coarse running with the World of Outlaws! We feel that we have reached so many amazing goals, some that many people only dream about.

The opportunities that racing has given to us have been more amazing than we have ever dreamed. Racing is something that cannot be explained, only experienced. We have been able to travel the country, explore different race tracks, and meet awesome people which created some great friendships. We have enjoyed family involvement and sponsors believing in us. We will miss hanging with everyone at the tracks, that late nights of racing together but mostly the racing community that cannot be found anywhere else. The memories are endless and so very treasured.

Remember to ENJOY racing! Don't let the competition make you jaded, don't let promoters try to make you choose  sides. Don't together to make racing united, rewarding and fun for promoters, track owners, racers and fans. Don't forget the passion which racing stirs within your hearts and those of the people sitting in the stands. Fling some mud, make some friends and hammer down!

We will miss racing and everyone so very much. Please keep in touch.

As this garage door closes...many others are opening...Godspeed

"Don't Look Back!"
...05 Signing Off...

Shadow Racing Team Farewell Video

Saturday, November 26, 2016

2016 Race Season Recap

Awesome Race Season!

We started off our 2016 season by putting in much preparation and time during our off season. Justin went to chassis school and learned a lot about setup which prepared him to be a better driver by having a deeper understanding of how the car functioned by design. Learning his dry-slick set up was crucial for the 2016 success. This gave him a new drive which boosted his confidence in the team and his own abilities as a driver.

Justin's crew chief - AKA: Dad was the driving force to help Justin become a better driver. Hank always challenges himself and Justin to understand the track and car better while becoming better communicators. Justin's mom always keeps us fed and the race rig cleaned up and organized. Justin's wife is his backbone, prayer warrior, always thrilled to race, ready to jump in the pushrzr and not afraid to get dirty.  April's niece Hailee and nephew Jaedon were always there to help out and cheer on the 05. Brandon helped out, not only in the pits but also as our motorsports marketing representative. He proved to be incredibly helpful and motivating with encouragement and support that he has given us from our first sprint car racing days. The Shadow Racing Team rocks!

This season offered many opportunities and races with the 305 divisions in Colorado. Justin set out at the beginning of this season to gain seat time and grab his first sprint win. We were more determined than ever to reach success and were thrilled to be able to offer partnerships with local sponsors. Justin won many heat races, almost always finished in the top 5 cars, taking many 2nd places and then in July he won his first A feature! He then earned a track championship, 3rd place in the BST championship, and 3rd in the URSS West Series.

The opportunity to run with the World of Outlaws was amazing! We put together a 360 package and were able to race with the superstars of our sport at our home track here in Colorado. It was a dream come true to contend and even be competitive with the best in the world. It will be a memory that will be treasured forever.

We would not have been able to complete this season without the support of our sponsors, family and friends. You all have made this one of the most incredible years that we have experienced and we cannot express our gratitude enough.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

9/14/16 Chasing Dreams - World of Outlaws Race

 Photo Credit: Dave Liddle

You can imagine our excitement when we found out that the World of Outlaws were returning to Colorado. Not only that, but they were coming to our home track in Calhan. Click here for a cool write up on the great return. So cool to see Justin’s name mentioned! 

We spent many nights and weekends preparing our 360 for this event but had fun while we were at it.
The day of the big event, we pulled into our pit stall we were side by side with the WoO vinyl wrapped haulers. We were in awe that we were sharing the same dirt with the superstars of dirt track racing.

 As we prepared for the race, we were able to catch up with some of the drivers and pit crews…many who we raced with back in the 360 ASCS Rocky Mountain Region. This series was impressive and super organized, complete with a mobile command center. The professionalism of the track leads was inviting and helpful as these people didn’t mess around so you needed to know exactly where and when you needed to be.

Our first taste of a timed qualifying ended up with Justin pulling a #2 so he was the very first driver to go out for his 3 timed laps which placed everyone is their heat line up.  Considering Justin had never done this, he did pretty well even though the car’s jetting was messed up. He then ran his heat, made some tweaks and was ready for the A feature.

Cool thing about racing in Colorado is that we have a great support system. The Shadow Team had an awesome pit crew and a huge amount of friends, family and sponsors in the stands. They were just as blown away as we were that the 410 cars were racing on our little bull ring track. 

The main event was an experience that Justin has dreamed of since he was 6 years old. He was completely star struck as he was sitting in staging with the pros. The 4 wide sprint salute was honor to partake in and gave Justin chills as the crowd roared its appreciation. 

The green flag immediately kicked in Justin’s race mode and he quickly fell into his comfort zone. He avoided 3 wrecks/spins that happened right in front of him and soon was only one of two 360 cars remaining. The race was a thrilling 40 lap adventure that was heart pumping and so much fun! Justin ended up placing 17th out of 24 cars which is great since this was his first Outlaw race and he was down 200 hp.

It was so encouraging to have so many fans visit us in the pits and recognize the #05 as a Colorado favorite.

From Justin… “To have my dream become a reality is confirmation that this is something that God has gifted me with and He has placed people in my life to help me reach these big goals. It was an honor and a thrill to race with these guys and I hope it’s something I get to do again.”
We want to thank everyone for their support, prayers and sponsorship for this event. We could not have done it without you!

Massive thanks to local sponsors who joined us and helped make this happen!

To God be the Glory 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

7/5-6/2016 – 305 - Loving A Race Car Driver

On August 5th, we raced in Holyoke, CO. Some of April‘s family have a farm near Holyoke so they made it out to the race and had their first adventure in sprint car racing.

Justin started out the main feature fighting through traffic. After that, he was on a rocket mission! He was a full straightaway behind the race leader but he was able to chase him down! Each lap he gained on the red 17. Justin was super smooth and screaming fast! They both eventually caught lap traffic and had to split around a lap car...Justin went high and the lap car jerked up, crashing into Justin, catching the left front of the 05. Thankfully Justin kept the car from flipping the wall and getting thrown upside down but they started him at the back with only a couple laps to go. 
We were extremely frustrated knowing that he had this race won as he was the fastest car out there. But it was a blast to watch him rip it up! We tried again the next night in Ft. Morgan but missed the set up. Justin had to battle through the back pack but the track was super greasy so he was not able to make it happen.

Our hearts are heavy for Bryan Clauson’s family as they deal with losing him in a horrific midget crash. He was a legend in the world of racing and the community grieves for him.
Some thoughts from April..
Loving a race car driver is an experience that many people will never understand. Big dreams come with extreme highs and massive lows, with much thrills and much loss. There are times of great excitement, heart pounding moments full of celebration and so much fun. There are also times of frustrations, brokenness and lost hope. Sprint car racing specifically is always right on the edge of disaster or success. 
I knew that when I married Justin that I would be in for an adventurous journey and I would also be marrying into the racing world and needed to be fully committed. I decided that I was not going to sit at home while he traveled to tracks so I made a commitment to learn about racing and fully support him. I became his PR person and eventually learned how to help in the pits and drive the push rzr. His dreams soon became mingled with mine and I found myself passionate about the sport and chase his dreams by his side instead of following behind.  
I absolutely love it and I also hate it.
Growing up with brothers, I am naturally competitive but more than that, I am protective. Dirt racing is scary and every race makes my guts hurt, my teeth grind and my heart beat out of my chest.
It scares me every time that Justin gets in to a race car but I refuse to live in that fear. Every day things can harm us, freak accidents can happen and even daily driving (as we know) can almost kill you. We can't allow that fear to control or consume us or we will never do anything outside of our comfort zone nor will we go after dreams that God has placed in our hearts. I tend to get all twisted up before a race weekend and have to lay my worries down and give each one to God.  Each preparation, each sponsor, each dollar, each trip, each mile,  each and every time Justin straps into the race car… is fully covered in prayers. Crazy things still happen but with each one, we become stronger, learn new things and give God glory through each lap.
We are on this journey together, through the bumpy tracks and the through the checkered flags.
My heart goes out to the Clauson family and Bryan’s fiancĂ© and even his beloved doggies for even though they knew the risk of loving a race car driver, they never imagined or could be prepared for something so tragic. 
By his side

Friday, August 5, 2016

7/30/16 – Colorado Motorsports Park – 305 - Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Covered in mud!

After a few weeks off, we headed back to Byers for the weekend. It felt great to get back in the car again and meet up with friends. We also enjoyed having a pit crew including our friends Brandon and Iustin along with April’s nephew.

We’d like to announce Brandon Leathers as the new newest member of our team who is in charge of Shadow Racing Team Motorsports Marketing program. He has been supportive of Justin’s dream since the beginning and is a prayer warrior that we welcome with open arms.
Welcome Brandon!

This race was the first official URSS National Tour race that we took part in and we have to say that we appreciated the professionalism of the Rick Salem and his crew. 24 cars checked into this race and Justin was in the second heat. Justin knew that he would have his work cut out for him, starting second row outside and knowing that these guys were extremely competitive but looked forward to the challenge. Justin was patiently aggressive and pulled off a solid 3rd which gave him enough passing points to make the A main feature. This was a major accomplishment as the track conditions were challenging and there were many heavy hitters in his heat.

Stretching it out

After gaining some knowledge from watching the B feature, the team made adjustments accordingly and then got Justin saddled up. He started second row, inside and was off to a great start for the 30 lap feature. Many drivers were overly aggressive which caused Justin to stay on his game, having to avoid several near misses of disaster. After restarting after a red flag…on the restart, heading into turn 1, full throttle, a very large rock jammed itself under Justin’s gas pedal!  He managed to keep the car off the wall but lost several car positions while trying to remove the rock with his foot while maintaining high speeds to avoid being rear-ended. So we were content with the 10th place finish after surviving what could have become a very bad situation.

We are looking forward to the BST weekend ahead with 2 nights of racing. Thanks to everyone for your support and following this journey with us as we chase this God given dream.

Fun video that our friend Iustin took while riding along in the push rzr after the red flag. Cool view of what the track looks like and a neat feel with the sprints passing by us. Thanks to Iustin for the great photos and videos!
305 Sprint Car - Push RZR Ride-A-Long 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

7/4/2016 - 305 - 4th of July - American Dirt

We had big plans for this 4th of July weekend. We wanted to take both the 305 and 360 race cars down to Dodge City, KS and compete with the big boys. It would have been a blast but unfortunately we were not able to make it because we had a sponsor back out at the last minute but to make matters worse...this happened on the way home last weekend. The entire trailer tire and wheel were gone we we got home. We had to order parts and put it back together to just make it to the race in Calhan at El Paso County Speedway on the 4th. 

The weather was gorgeous and Justin was ready to back out on the track after his addictive win last weekend. It was great having momentum to carry into this race and as always it's awesome to race at our home track with many fans to cheer us on. We had over 40 people who had specifically come to cheer the #05 and celebrate July 4th with us. 

Special thanks to our good friends who joined us in the pits. We were honored to have Dennis with us as he brought past sprint car wisdom with him from his early days of dirt track pitting. He was eager to get his hands on the 05 and was extremely helpful  to the team. 
We qualified 3rd in our heat race which after invert, placed us 2nd row inside for the feature. The team knew right away that this was going to be extreme dry slick conditions. We made many changes to the car after the heat, knowing that it was going to be super slick. 

At the drop of the main event green flag, Justin was on a mission! Happy with the handling of the was hammer down. The 05 quickly gained and fought within the top 3 positions while passing and battling for the 2nd place position. Even after a few cautions, he was able to maintain and secure 2nd place. He fought hard for 1st place but the 49 car had just a bit more drive. Justin was thrilled with gaining more knowledge about dry slick conditions and looks forward to his next race.
Happy Independence Day Everyone!
We are honored to live in a country where chasing your dreams is possible!
Proud to be an American! 

Monday, June 27, 2016

305 - Byers: Back2Back Races - Resurrected Dreams

Saturday night was full of dreams come true! Colorado MotorSports Park held two back2back races since one was a rain out reschedule. Justin qualified for the pole a few weeks ago right before a storm came in so the first race started with that line up for the main feature.

Justin was on a mission from the drop of the green flag, speeding down the straightaway. He was a rocket, smoothly handling the corners, it was quickly noticed that he was car to beat as he dominated the track. He navigated lap traffic beautifully, while aggressively taking over half the field.

A red flag came out when there was 5 laps remaining with two cars getting tangled up. Everyone was then set up for the green, white, checker which was incredibly heart pounding since the cars were all put back together again for a restart.  Justin had a great restart and held his position which gave him has very first sprint car win!

This win is so meaningful to us as this journey, although exciting and adventurous, has been full of battles, frustration, disasters and hardships. It's taken us many years to make it to this point...sometimes wondering if we'd even race again after our accident. Many events were race by race, waiting on sponsorship and for God to provide.

It's such an amazing feeling to sit in victory lane and celebrate with the team and the fans. Justin's excitement was contagious and everyone was thrilled for him. It was so cool that we even had our friend Brandon with us who was at our very first sprint race and then got to celebrate the first win also.

Happy to have had this win on Colorado turf...represent! Big thanks to Colorado Motorsports Park for their commitment to bringing sprint cars back to Colorado and creating a great dirt track and fun for the fans.

Deep thanks to our sponsors: To God be the Glory, IronWolf Designs, Made in the Shade, Huger Reality, and Dales Paint for supporting us. Also to our families, especially Justin's parents who have supported him from go-kart days and are at every race along with Justin's brother Nick and the Wolf family and we can't forget our pit girl, Hailee.

From April: Watching Justin grow in experience, knowledge and confidence in this crazy race world has been amazing. We have been through so many adventures together, even extreme loss and pain. I can't imagine walking this world with anyone other than him. I'm proud to be by his side as these moments unfold. I was thrilled to watch him shout for joy and must agree with Martin Truex Jr's girlfriend Sherry Pollex, when she said this...

..."God was building his character to win a big one, and this was huge for us and our hometown and our family. ... We’ve been through so much. This is just the icing on the cake.”
Thanks be to God for building character in us.  Under of the Shadow of His wings!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

305 – Calhan BST Race – Spin Me Right Round

We always enjoy racing at El Paso County Raceway since it’s our home track. We love the fans that come out to cheer us on and the friends who enjoy and support not only our love of racing but also IronWolf.

Justin was interviewed by the new country station Country 107.3, and made sure to plug the dirt track and the 305 racing that has returned to Colorado.

April’s nephew loves our RZR and has a blast helping out as pit crew for the team. AKA…Mud Scraper and assistant push car passenger.

Moving forward Justin hopes to see the “2 spin rule” go into effect for not only safety reasons but also it makes for better racing for the fans. Justin made many clean passes battling for the top 3-4 cars but the event had over nine cautions which caused many restarts so he would lose the position he just gained because another caution was thrown. But Justin loves the new track surface that Joe Bellum and the fairgrounds have invested in. It was so much fun to go full throttle through turns 1 & 2. He can’t wait to get back there on July 4th

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

305 I-76 Speedway - Choose your battles wisely

I-76 Speedway has always been a favorite local track that Justin has enjoyed a lot of success in his karting days. The day started off great with Justin finishing 3rd in his heat which after inversion, qualified him  for inside pole!

While we were in staging for the main event, the lightning sprints were out and there was a horrible wreck which required emergency response teams. They had to cut the driver out of the car and rush him to the hospital. We know what it's like to have hospital bills overwhelm you, so if you can please donate towards his massive hospitals bills...Click HERE.

Meanwhile the 305 cars sat in staging...engines cooling, track changing and the crash danger settling in driver's minds. They finally got going about an hour later. Justin battled for position in the top 3 cars for about half the race when on turn 2, he charged the corner too hard and spun himself out. Several cars were able to avoid him except for one that ran into the front of the 05, which caused the other driver's own tire to be sliced down. Justin had to start at the back of the pack because of the spin rule but his front wing had been knocked sideways which made the car extremely loose on a very greasy track. He managed to salvage a top ten finish.

As Justin was looking over the damage of his car, he was incredibly upset and blamed himself for destroying a great opportunity for a win. Shadow Racing Team has faced many obstacles from bad set up, to being wrecked, to stuff breaking but it was frustrating to take himself out. To add salt to wounds, the crew of the driver that ran into Justin came to our pit stall, yelling and accusing Justin of taking out their driver. Foul language, threats and degrading remarks towards Justin's wife made it tough to stay calm but Justin held his cool. After being angry at himself and then being falsely accused, we all felt completely discouraged.

Justin will admit that he wanted to jack the guy up but it was obviously not worth it and communication was a lost cause so it was time to turn his back to the issue. What kind of example are were setting for those around us when grown adults are yelling at each other?

We are not going to let this night weaken our passion for this sport and will put this behind us and move forward. We have had a lot of consistency in our qualifying efforts and plan to focus more on our main event preparation.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Mud Festival in Byers

As many of you now know, life with us is always an adventure. As we prepared for racing Colorado Motorsports Parkway we had to take the semi truck for emissions and had not yet hooked it back up to the trailer. The trailer was sitting out on the property, up on steel plates and we hear this metal crunching noise. Running out to see...the trailer had crushed through the plates and sank into the soft ground. It took us hours, lots of metal and wood plus much creativity to level it out. Funny thing is while we were out there struggling, some guy running for governor drove over to offer encouragement and a flyer...Seriously?!

We made it to the track safe and shortly after we unloaded, we hear a loud popping noise only to discover that a trailer tire valve stem had blown out. Thankfully, Brian Hardman and Brad Wasson came to the rescue with an air-jack and impact driver and had the spare in place NASCAR pit crew style.

Justin started in the second heat, 3rd row inside and after battling through the field, took 2nd. We were excited to see he qualified for the outside pole only to see massive dark clouds come out of nowhere. Everything was instantly drenched and the track became a mud pit.

Amazing double rainbow of the Shadow Racing EMI 305

After much kicking and screaming, the drivers got back in their cars to try and roll in the track. Hailee and April were soon covered in mud while pushing not only Justin but many other stuck drivers. They had a blast after the first initial shock of cold mud in the face from those fat Hoosiers. Not the mud facial that April had in mind.

After about and hour, the track officials decided to call it a night. The mud won that night but the race has been rescheduled for a double header on the June 25th.

We had a blast with Justin's brother Nick who was out for a visit. Nick has always been one of Justin's biggest fan's and Justin is thankful to have had his support for so many years.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Back in the Saddle! & 2016 Schedule

We have had a few races under our belts for the 2016 race season! It's been great to get back out there and hit up some local tracks plus meet up with fellow racers and 05 fans. We plan to race the entire BST series along with some NCRA races and the Colorado Sprint Car series. The 360 will be out there too so stay tuned.

We are blessed to race again this  year and feel we have come a long way after our accident in 2010.
God has redeemed so much and continues to light our path as we follow the road less traveled.

Let us know if anyone would be interested in sponsorship opportunities! We have exciting things happening this year!

2016 Race Results

  • Oct 7th @ Colorado Motorsports Park (Byers, CO) - 5th Place Finish
  • Oct 1st @ I-76 Speedway (Fort Morgan, CO)  - 2nd Place Finish
  • Sept 17th @ Colorado Motorsports Park (Byers, CO) - 2nd Place Finish - Track Champion!)
  • Sept. 14 - Special Event ~ World of Outlaws (Calhan, CO)- 17th - Awesome Event!)
  • Sept. 10 @ El Paso County Raceway (Calhan, CO)- 5th place Finish
  • August 27th @ Colorado Motorsports Park (Byers, CO)- 2nd place Finish
  • Aug 13th @ El Paso County Raceway (Calhan, CO)- 5th place Finish
  • Aug 6th @ I-76 Speedway (Fort Morgan, CO)- 10th place Finish
  • Aug 5th @ Philips County Raceway(Holyoke, CO)- 5th place Finish
  • July 30th @ Colorado Motorsports Park (Byers, CO) - 10th place Finish
  • July 4th @ El Paso County Raceway (Calhan, CO) - 2nd Place Finish
  • June 25th @ Colorado Motorsports Park (Byers, CO) - 1st Place Finish!
  • June 11th @ El Paso County Raceway (Calhan, CO) - 10th place finish
  • June 4th @ I-76 Speedway (Fort Morgan, CO) - 10th place finish
  • May 28th @ Colorado Motorsports Park (Byers, CO) - Rain Out Rescheduled
  • April 23rd @ Colorado Motorsports Park (Byers, CO) - 8th Place Finish
  • May 13 @ Lamar Raceway (Lamar, CO) - 5th Place Finish
  • May 14 @ El Paso County Raceway (Calhan, CO) - 11th Place Finish

We hope to see you out there! 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

2016 - Prepping The Foundation

We had a blast in the 305 BST/CAT Sprint Car Alliance last year! It's giving us motivation and excitement about 2016. After starting from scratch in our new 305 car, we had a big learning curve to traverse. The late season success of 2015 has given us momentum to carry into 2016.

We began preparing our promotional plan for the year. April created our promo cards which is a personal approach and hope that is highlights the great marking opportunities that we offer. The fact that we race in a Colorado series is enticing to many local companies.
This winter our main focus this year has been to become more efficient with time and area at the race track, so we cleaned out and organized the entire race trailer and race shop. We feel as a small team, we need to be as efficient and orderly as possible which will make our pit area more productive which will carry out onto the track. Justin feels that less stress in the pits, offers more focus in the race car.

We're also excited to now have a local race parts dealer Hathaway Performance and enjoyed their open house.

Justin took some time this month to travel to EMI in Lincoln Nebraska to further his education with chassis setup. He was thrilled with the knowledge that Eagle shared with him and is eager to apply to the upcoming season. It was also fun to visit Speedway Motors and to find some killer deals.

Looking forward to the new season and excited about the sponsorship opportunities!

2015 Race Results

305 BST Sprint Car Tour Results

Finished 5th in points out of 30 cars.

October 10th~ El Paso County Speedway (Calhan, CO) ---2nd, almost had 1st!

September 12th~ Lamar Speedway (Lamar, CO) --- 11th

August 29th ~ I-76 Speedway (Fort Morgan, CO) --- DNF

August 14th ~ Colorado Motorsports Park (Byers, CO) --- 6th

July 25th~ El Paso County Speedway (Calhan, CO) ---15th

July 11th~ I-76 Speedway (Fort Morgan, CO) ---Canceled

July 4th~ El Paso County Speedway (Calhan, CO) ---6th

July 3rd~ Colorado Motorsports Park (Byers, CO) ---10th

June 6th~ I-76 Speedway (Fort Morgan, CO) ---Rain Out

May 30 ~ Philips County Raceway (Holyoke, CO) --- 15th

May 29 ~ Philips County Raceway (Holyoke, CO) --- 15th

May 16th~ El Paso County Speedway (Calhan, CO) ---Rain Out

April 18th~ El Paso County Speedway (Calhan, CO) ---7th

360 Sprint Car Frontier Region Results

August 3rd ~ Valentine Speedway (Glen Rock, WY) --- 8th

August 2nd ~ Valentine Speedway (Glen Rock, WY) --- DNF