Shafer’s consistency lifts him to Super-X titlewaterford
Marc Shafer has a simple strategy when it comes to competing in the new London-Waterford Speedbowl’s Super-X car division.
“You spend the first half of the race dodging everyone else, and letting the race weed itself out,” Shafer said. “And then you spend the second half of the race getting to the front.”
It’s a game plan that paid off to perfection in 2017.
In a season that saw him land on the podium eight times in 11 races, Shafer racked up his first Speedbowl Super-X championship, topping runner-up Don Berge by 12 points.
Included in his 2017 resume is one win, two seconds and five thirds. His worst finish all season was eighth. Many of Shafer’s podium finishes occurred because of his knack for passing cars late in the race.
“This championship means a lot,” Shafer said. “I’ve been trying to win it for years. But this year I had better luck.”
Shafer said he came close the previous two seasons, but came up short.
“In 2015, I thought I had the title in the bag, but I got married and left on my honeymoon,” Shafer said. “Then the following year I was in contention, and someone put me into the wall on purpose. So I knew I had a good chance to win it this year.”
With two weeks left in the season, however, Shafer was in second place. His second place finish in the Wednesday night season finale, however, enabled him to put a padlock on the track title.
“I felt I had the potential to win the title, but it looked like I was going to end up second,” Shafer said. “Then certain things went south for someone else, and I was able to keep it together. That’s why I was able to come out on top.”
Shafer’s consistency had a lot to do with it.
“People always tell me other cars run faster times,” Shafer said. “Everyone looks at lap times. But lap times don’t help you in the middle of a race. It doesn’t matter if you can run one fast lap. What matters is if your crew gives you a consistent car that gets better as the race goes on.”
Schafer says there’s something just as important and winning trophies — gaining respect from your fellow competitors.
“Through the years, a lot of drivers have come up to me and have given me encouragement,” Schafer said. “Drivers like Ray Reed and Keith Scalia have said some good things to me and that means a lot.”
It also means a lot that Shafer has had a huge support system to push him to the top rung of the Super-X car ladder.
“Charles Beal helped me my first two years,” Shafer said. “Then I bought Jon Porter’s car and put my motor in it, and I kept getting better and better.
“It never is a one-man show. That’s why I have to thank my wife Jonai, who has been my No. 1 supporter from Day 1, my ma, my family and my friends. Unless you have someone helping you win, you’re just not going to get it.”
Shafer’s sponsors include Tom from Just Dump It, the Tire Store from East Lyme, Engines by Andy, JSB Motorsports and Joe Brockett, Joltin’ Johnny Brower and Billy T Welding and Fabrication.
His crew members include Porter, Pat Smith, Eric Martin, Brad Caddick and Phil Diaplo.
Shafer also wants to salute the person who inspired him to get involved with motor sports — his dad.
“That’s the reason I started racing — in memory of my father,” Shafer said. “He took me to the Speedbowl when I was a kid to watch the Joie Chitwood show, and I told him I was going to be out there some day. If it wasn’t for him, I never would have won a championship.”
Shafer plans on running in the Super-X car division in 2018, so that crew will be tested again.
“We have the most unorthodox crew,” Shafer said. “But we are loyal to each other.
Also loyal are a huge group of fans who wear orange tee-shirts and root emphatically every Wednesday for a driver they call “The Shaft.” He has one of the largest — and loudest — rooting section at the Speedbowl.
“I’m very fortunate,” Shafer said. “I’ve got a lot of family and friends who support what I do. One night a week at the Speedbowl is a good excuse for everyone to get together.”
In 2017, Marc Shafer gave them plenty to cheer about.