MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Long-time race fans remember one of the most talented drivers in the history of motorsports was an Ashland, Ohio native named Tim Richmond. If Jonathan Shafer has his way, this generation of race fans will also know a driver from that small rural town.
The second generation driver has already raised eyebrows in the sprint car world and now he’s ready to build his resume in the Late Model Stock world with the help of Nelson Motorsports.
The 14 year-old driver has already enjoyed wins in Quarter Midgets and Microsprints and has already secured a part-time ride this season with well-known car owner Keith Kunz in the USAC Midget division.
“I’m ready to go and can’t wait to drive the Nelson Motorsports Toyota Camry in the CARS Tour this season,” said Shafer. “We had a good test last weekend at Southern National Speedway and with the help and experience I have on this team I couldn’t ask to be in a better situation as I begin racing late models full time.”
Experience might be an understatement when you consider Shafer is talking about the defending champion in the CARS Tour late model division Bobby McCarty and veteran driver and former NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series driver Timothy Peters.
In addition to the experience the former drivers will offer Shafer he’ll also have Marcus Richmond and David Triplett who bring a wealth of knowledge to the team. That duo, along with Peters and the leadership of team owner Barry Nelson, has turned Nelson Motorsports into one of the strongest late model teams in the CARS Tour.
Led by team owner Nelson, who has been a success in racing and business throughout the Martinsville area and tracks across the mid-Atlantic region, the Genesis Christian Academy student has one of the strongest teams he could find to help him begin his stock car racing journey in earnest.
Adding the experienced support he’ll get at Nelson Motorsports, Shafer already sets himself apart from many other young drivers. The teenager works on his own cars and setups and has been part of the entire process in racing – not just showing up with a helmet and driving.
“One thing my dad did with me from the beginning was teach me how to work on the race cars,” said Shafer. “If I was going to race I had to also work on them and I really enjoy it. I think it will make be a better communicator to my crew during races and ultimately make me a better driver.
“Working on your own car should give you a better understanding of what it needs to be in contention for wins every time you’re on the track.”
While Shafer lives in Ohio he has ties to the Martinsville area as his mom is from nearby Eden, N.C. and has grandparents and relatives still living in the area.
Shafer has already gained some valuable experience in a late model when he competed in the Fall Brawl at Hickory Motor Speedway finishing sixth just behind Sam Mayer who has already scored ARCA Menards East & West division wins this year.
Peters has already noticed the talent shown by the young driver and is ready to help him get off to a solid start in the CARS Tour.
“Jonathan is already showing how talented he is behind the wheel and I can’t wait to work with him this season,” said Peters. “He’s already proven he can drive a race car and it’s our job to get him comfortable in a heavier late model as quickly as possible.”
Although he’s yet to race with Nelson Motorsports, Shafer has set some realistic goals as he begins the 2020 season.
“I just want to finish races and bring the car home in one piece,” he said. “Then as I learn I want to score top-10 finishes and then move up to top-five and top-three finishes this season.”
Jonathan Shafer will get his first start in the No. 2 Nelson Motorsports Toyota Camry at Southern National Speedway this Saturday. For more information, contact Timothy Peters at 434-203-0717.
-Nelson Motorsports Press Release & Photo