...Larry Shelton and driver Mike Henry, on a shoestring budget, won the 2003 Civil War sprint car championship for the second consecutive year. Shelton is now a five-time champion tuner in the toughest winged 360 series in Nor-Cal. Growing up at West Capital Raceway, Larry admired "Crazy Wheels" Wally Baker. As a collegiate baseball player at powerhouse Sac City College he absorbed open-wheel dirt racing at every opportunity. Shelton traveled to Knoxville, and Williams Grove, Lincoln, and I-70. He helped out with Kenny Woodruff's Gambler "house car" when Doug Wolfgang was wheeling it. Shelton would quiz Wolfy about everything, taking in the info like an air scoop does air. Brad Doty, Jimmy Boyd, Dave Bradway Jr., Lee Brewer Jr., Dave Blaney, and Wayne Sue, all topnotch drivers, taught Larry something. While making sprint car parts at John Boy Sullivan's South Sacramento racing shop, Shelton got his first taste of wrenching for Wayne's son Mitch. When Mitch Sue decided to get out of racing, Larry hooked on with numerous different drivers. He tuned Scot Luhdorf, Jim Appleton, Sparky Howard, Glen Boune, David Robinson Jr., and many others. In all cases the drivers outperformed their previous success. Shelton brings that intangible to a race team. He is competitive. Like Woodruff, or any good coach, Shelton pushes his drivers to succeed in ways they previously have not (which is not to take anything anyway from the drivers who have steered Shelton wrenched cars). As Bill Cosby might say, the proof is in the pudding. ...Henry's championship drive is nothing short of amazing! In the off-season, Henry suffered a broken hip and pelvis, and was questionable to start the 2003 campaign. He played through the pain on the tight bullrings of the tour. Congratulations again to Mike & Larry on their fantastic accomplishments.
Henry Earns Civil War Championship, Furr Flies to Victory in 30-lap Feature Event - By Bill Sullivan, PLACERVILLE, CA (9-27-03) ... The championship drama rose to its climax Saturday night at Alan Padjen's Placerville Speedway as competition here came to a close with the final segment of the traveling Hoosier Racing Tires Civil War Sprint Car Series and the coveted series title going down to the final race of the night. When the final checkered flag waved Sacramento driver Mike Henry finished a caution plagued 30-lap feature event in the eighth position to clinch the title over season long point leader Stephen Allard of Chico. Allard finished 18th in the event after a roll-over in the early laps drew the curtain shut on his championship hopes. (read it all)
September 2003 - ...While on the topic of drivers who have also impressed us lately, kudos to Mike Henry who gassed the crap out his own 360 at the Gold Cup. How long do Henry and sharp crew chief Larry Shelton have to stay in the 360 ranks? As a team, those cats are FAST! We want to see Henry in a 410 on a regular basis. Shelton says there is just no way unless the team gets major sponsor help.
...Mike Henry won both the Placerville Speedway, and California Civil War 360 championships last year, and he was also named Open Wheel Driver of the Year by the Motor Sports Press Association in Northern California. During the off-season, the aggressive pilot had a non-racing accident that broke his hip and pelvis. Although still trying to gain strength, Henry is expected to be in action when the regular Saturday night series points shows begin this weekend. Henry says, "We'll give it five races at Placerville and see what happens. After five races we'll look and the points and determine our plan for the rest of the season. Henry, who drives a sprinter wrenched by Larry Shelton, added, "Until last year I had never really chased points before and honestly things got pretty stressful at the end of the year, it just wasn't fun anymore. You have to have fun doing this because you aren't going to make a lot of money at it unless you drive for somebody else. Placerville is my favorite track though and I'm looking forward to coming back."
The Motor Sports Press Association (MSPA), a collection of Northern California journalists has named 2002 Civil War Champion, Mike Henry, their Oval Track Open-Wheel Driver of the Year. The Fair Oaks California driver earned championships at both Placerville Speedway, and on the Civil War 360 series. Henry will be honored at the 40th annual MSPA awards dinner.
Larry "The Ace" Shelton eats, sleeps, and drinks sprint cars. His days working at JohnBoy Sullivan's Sacramento shop, and later for engine builder Bill StammerJohn, kept him in the know. As Mitch Sue's mechanic, he prepped to succeed with Scot Luhdorf, and Sparky Howard. Now Shelton is wrenching for Civil War points leader Mike Henry. Shelton has led Glen Boune, and David Robinson Jr. to previous Civil War Championships. A student of sprint car racing, Shelton was also a gifted Sacramento area baseball player. His competitive drive seems to bring out more in his drivers. Shelton is old-school, dating back to the West Capitol Raceway days, when Wally "Crazy Wheels" Baker was the fastest. Since then, Shelton has traveled to all the sprint car hot spots, from Knoxville to ASCOT, to Skagit. He knows his stuff. Picking the brains of Doug Wolfgang, Brad Doty, and the late, Dave Bradway Jr., Shelton learned how to make a sprint car and it's driver faster. We quizzed Larry about moving up to the 410 level next year with Henry. Shelton said there is no way they could do it. "My guy buys his parts at the swap meets at the end of the year. We can't race with those teams. Our chassis is whatever Rodney (Tiner) has currently salvaged. Right now, we have a two year old Maxim that was crashed bad by Jim Van Lare. Rodney bought it wrecked, chopped it up, fixed it, and sold it us for a deal."
Shelton, who always has had an eye for talent, lauds Tim Kaeding, Jason Meyers, Roger Crockett, "my guy" (Mike Henry), and Andy Forsberg as the brighest young drivers in Northern California.
Mike Henry Posts Second Straight Memorial Day win in Civil War #4 - By Bill Sullivan CHICO, CA 5-26-02 - It's become a patriotic tradition at Silver Dollar Speedway each year when the Hoosier Tires Civil War Sprint Car Series competes against the backdrop of the Silver Dollar Fair over Memorial Day weekend. This year it was business as usual on the north state 1/4 mile with the special Sunday event drawing a total of 54 cars and putting a familiar name in victory lane following the 30-lap feature event as Mike Henry of Sacramento posted his second straight Memorial Day weekend win on the Chico clay. (story and summary)