When it comes to tractors, Stan Shelton is a star.
The New London, N.C., native is a standout in the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League.
Now, Shelton has pretty much passed the tractor pulling baton to his children, boys, Grayson and Reese and daughter, Camille and now he wants to try his hand at Pro Mod racing.
“The kids all drive the pulling vehicles now and I just drive the hauler it seems like, and I said I’m going to build a Pro Mod and I’m driving,” the elder Shelton said. “We always loved drag racing and we would go to Charlotte or wherever when we weren’t pulling. My best friend’s dad tractor pulled when I was 10 years old and I got hooked on that. If he would have been a drag racer, then I probably would have been drag racing all this time.
My dad grew up on a farm and did mechanical stuff and we love competition, but we also love the mechanical-side of it and Pro Mod, the motor is as close to our pulling vehicles as you can get.”
Shelton is ready to take on his new Pro Mod challenge.
“I’m going to compete in the PDRA (Professional Drag Racing Association) and the Carolina Xtreme Pro Mod, a couple hours within our home,” Shelton said. “We’ve always truck, and tractor pulled ever since about 1992. It has been great for my family, great for my kids and we are still doing it and having a great time, but we traveled a lot of miles trying to run the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League and other circuits. We understand the blower motor in the Pro Mods, so we have that part but the rest of it we were clueless. The motor part is the easy part.”
Shelton competed in the Pro Mod class during the Woostock event at Darlington, (S.C.) Dragway, an event sanctioned by Carolina Xtreme Pro Mod.
Jerry Bickel built Shelton’s Pro Mod car and he’s campaigning a 2019 Ford Mustang.
“We are Ford people and we like the look of the Mustang,” Shelton said. “It took us about a year to get it built from Jerry and we started testing the first of March. It is a good time. My kids are all involved and working here in the crew. In tractor pulling, you get one shot at it each night at that’s it, so you better have it right. So, we are loving the family atmosphere with this Pro Mod stuff.”
At Darlington Dragway, Shelton took advantage of pre-event test sessions. He lost in the first round to eventual finalist Jim Halsey.
“The first two times I tested (Thursday) I shook the tires, but it is fun to be a part of this,” Shelton said. “We have tested by ourselves and I got about 10 passes in and they were great, but the nerve factor and everything else is going on here.”
“Our accomplishment was just in qualifying, that was a victory. The experience of lining up with these guys and experience of getting your blood pumping and having somebody in the other lane is what we’ve been looking for.”
Shelton said Mike Kopchick of Rage Fuel Systems and Russell Miller, owner of Darlington Dragway were instrumental in getting his Pro Mod career started in the right direction.
“They made me go through the step process of several launches and several 60-foot and 330-foot passes,” Shelton said. “It has been a kindergarten-type atmosphere and that’s what I needed. I made my first test laps in March and I promise you the first time I came off that brake it felt like somebody strapped me to the Space Shuttle. The sensation of the car leaving the line is unbelievable. We want to race in Pro Mod events close to home to cut our teeth and get a whole lot of seat time.”