Paul Shafer Jr.’s days of partying in college may be over, but that doesn’t mean he’s still not able to have a good time. This weekend, the personable Super Late Model racer from the state of Indiana will make his way to Oktoberfest at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway (WI) with a pair of MC Hammer-like parachute pants and a mindset that his competition “Can’t Touch This” on the race track.
Known as one of the brighter personalities in short track racing, “Pauly” started growing a mullet at the beginning of the 2019 season. While on Speed51.com’s The Morning Bullring, he let the short track world know he still has the mullet, and that he even made another addition to the retro look.
“I still got a mullet, I’m still growing it out,” Shafer stated. “I’ve got to trim it out in the front yet, but I’m still growing out the mullet. I don’t know how long it’s going to get but I’m not tired of it yet. I’m hearing it’s coming back so I might have to cut it since it’s come back. I did buy a pair of parachute pants this weekend if we’re being honest.”
Despite now owning the parachute pants with plans to break them out at Oktoberfest, don’t plan on witnessing any MC Hammer-esque moves from the 22-year-old.
“Yeah, I don’t have those kind of moves,” he joked. “Maybe in the barn.”
As a member of the 2019 Kulwicki Driver Development Program, Shafers heads into the Oktoberfest Race Weekend fresh off the heels of a successful weekend one year ago where he earned a runner-up in the Midwest Tour finale and a sixth-place finish in the Dick Trickle 99.
The Portage, Indiana driver sits fifth in the ARCA Midwest Tour standings with a best finish of third at Jefferson Speedway back in May, the site of his first-career Tour win one year ago. He sees this weekend’s race as an important one based on the history of the event, as well as an opportunity for his team to gain momentum for a potential run at the Snowball Derby in December.
“It’s the biggest race of the year up here at the end of the year in Wisconsin, for us to run well there is pretty important,” Shafer told Speed51.com. “A lot of good guys have won it in the past.”
While the track sits over 300 miles from his home in Indiana, Shafer says La Crosse feels like home considering its similarities to the now-defunct Illiana Motor Speedway, the track where his career first took off as a former track champion.
“It’s a big half mile, big sweeping corners, long straightaways. It’s a lot like Illiana was back when I used to race there and where I grew up racing,” he said. “For me, going there is a lot like going home almost. It’s the closest thing to Illiana so it’s always a joy to go up there.”
Shafer originally crossed the finish line in fifth in the 200-lap main event one year ago after a late-race charge, but would officially be scored as the second-place finisher after the top three would all fail post-race tech. The results his team has had in recent years has them looking for more.
“We usually run pretty good there, the last couple years we’ve run up front,” he said. “Last year we passed more cars in tech than we did on the race track and ended up second, so that’s kind of cool.”
“Usually the weekend starts off a little rough and we’re kind of slow, can’t figure out the line, all that kind of stuff,” Shafer continued. “By Sunday, we start to figure it out and gain some momentum and gain some speed. It usually turns out to be an okay weekend for us.”
If you are unable to make it to Wisconsin for the 50th Annual Oktoberfest Race Weekend, Speed51 will broadcast all four nights of racing live, including the ARCA Midwest Tour finale on Sunday. Click here to purchase your pay-per-view tickets for the event.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51.com