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The Inaugural Sheely Collection Charity Autocross & Celebrity Shootout

Photo of Scott Fraser on track behind the wheel of the Porsche GT3

Scott Fraser behind the wheel of the Porsche GT3

Imagine it’s mid-December and most of the pro-touring community across the nation has finished their season in late November and put their race rides away for the winter. That is with the exception of the California contingency.

Because of the incredible weather the state of California seems to boast year round, you can, on any given weekend, find a handful of car events all over the state of California, especially the So Cal area. Whether it’s a Cars and Coffee or Cars and Cones at the local mall, or maybe a Speed Ventures or SCCA event you crave, or perhaps the Hotchkis Sport Suspension Annual Toy Drive, Southern California has something for almost any gearhead!

Photo of the TCI pit area

The Crew at TCI showed up and gave BIG to this cause

K&N Filters, as a title sponsor of the OPTIMA Search for the Ultimate Street Car series, was thrilled to see so many of the USCA drivers participating in this charity event. Their actions speak volumes about the heart of the pro-touring community. Even more impressive was to see Optima’s Race Director Jimi Day, President of FM3 Sports Marketing, out on course as a competitor. So inspired by Sheely and his motivation to make a difference in people’s lives, it was a no-brainer for Day to make the trek from Tennessee. We caught up with Jimi and he had this to say, “Pat Sheely, his family and race team are so generous to invite me and several others out to drive their cars. Not only are they creating a great event for all of us to have a great time, but they are generously matching and donating the significant proceeds to local SoCal charities. I can’t thank them enough for their commitment and generosity.”

Photo of the award winners on Sunday morning

Sunday morning awards, nothing but smiles from Chad Ryker, Mike DuSold and Wes Drelleshak

Quite a few of K&N’s Ambassadors made up this “invite only” field. Local racer Efrain Diaz, along with Northern California driver, Nick Relampagos were on hand to represent. Unfortunately, Invited K&N Team Driver, Jane Thurmond, was unable to attend as she landed a position at the world-renowned Bridgestone Winter Drive School in Steamboat Springs, Colorado as a Driving Instructor, for the Winter Season.

Photo of Scott Fraser in the drivers seat. Your winner in the Sports Car Class and winner overall.

Scott Fraser along with the Sheely Collection Charities are the big winners of the weekend.

The Inaugural Sheely Collection Charity AutoX and Celebrity Shootout held at the Autoclub Speedway in Fontana, California, December 16 & 17th, was the first of its kind in SoCal. This 2-day event included a full day of Autocross and Charity Fun Runs on Saturday along with Bracket Style Shootout on Sunday. You can be sure this was a first class event. Sheely elected to fly in Pro Driver’s Ken Thwaits, Mike DuSold, Rich Wilhoff and Jimi Day to get behind the wheel of his livery to represent the Sheely Collection. This 2 Day event really showcased some of the Nation’s best talent behind the wheel.

Photo of Greg Nelson out on track , your leader in Modern Muscle.

Greg Nelson the Leader in Modern Muscle

The field was made up of 48 participants, including the four pro drivers, who would compete for fastest lap time on Saturday at the autocross. In typical Racing Byrds fashion, every challenge element of autocross went into creating the track; long and fast straights with slaloms to test a car’s handling, early & late apex turns, tight hairpin & showcase turn all on a less than forgiving track surface. On Saturday horsepower wasn’t enough to claim victory. These driver’s had to prove they could handle more than just a throttle! A mid-day break for lunch, provided by The Sheely Collection, made it possible for the racers to connect and share strategies. Then the racers were back out on course. The common thread among these drivers was knowing that the pressure was off and they were living their passion for charity. Their two-day entry fee would go straight into the charity fund and provide for those in need.

The Inaugural Sheely Collection AutoX and Celebrity Shootout will benefit local charities that include the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, The Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital Ronald McDonald House, and the San Diego Fisher House Foundation, supporting Veterans seeking treatment for wounds, illness, and injury by providing temporary housing close by for their family.

Photo of Matt Alcala in the drivers seat of Greg Thurmond's '65 Corvette

Matt Alcala behind the wheel of Greg Thurmonds '65 Vette

At the end of Day 1 our drivers had the opportunity to throw down with head to head challenges and fun runs at a mere $10 per run slated for the charity. Anyone of the participants could choose to compete in their own ride or select one of ten incredible vehicles from the Sheely Collection. This made for some very cool competition. The smiles on the faces of these driver’s raising money and awareness doing what they love made for the most incredible vibe in the pits.

Sunday, Day 2 began with the ultimate driver’s meeting where the racers would learn who they were matched up with for the bracket-style shootout. One by one the driver’s would stage. The green flag was thrown and in the end, there would only be one crowned the victor.

Photo of Greg Nelson with his award fior the win in Modern Muscle.

Greg Nelson rolls away a winner!

Taking home the shootout win along with earning the fastest lap time of the weekend at 44.341 was none other than race veteran Scott Fraser behind the wheel of the Porsche GT3, in the Sports Car Class. Eric Sheely in his 2016 Ford Focus, Pat’s eldest, came nipping at Scott’s heels with his fastest lap time of 45.206 and ultimately edged out Rich Wilhoff on Day 2 in the Shootout. Greg Nelson in Modern Muscle, who ultimately made it to the semifinals on Day 2 and would run head to head with Scott Fraser, edged Sheely out in the overall ranking, making him second fastest in AutoX for the weekend, with his fastest lap time of 45.192. In Classic Muscle it would be Chad Ryker who would be paired with Scott Fraser in the Shootout but landed first in Classic Muscle with the fastest lap time of 45.768. Greg Thurmond in his ‘65 Candy Tangerine Corvette, SCAR, just 0.224 of a second behind Ryker in the TCI 71 Camaro, earned a solid second place finish in his class.

Celebrating his sixth decade on this rolling rock, Pat came to AutoX not quite three years ago. He had purchased a Ford Daytona and wanted to see if that fast and light car could finagle its way around some orange cones at the 15th Annual Meguiar’s Spring Nationals at Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, CA. One might say that after his first autocross, he was hooked. Between the camaraderie in the pits, the smell of burning fuel, the salt in the air, and let’s not forget the course, the staging lights and the spectators, Sheely was downright smitten with Autocross!

photo of Chad Ryker in the TCI '71 Camaro winner in Classic Muscle

Chad Ryker in the TCI '71 Camaro winner in Classic Muscle

Pat Sheely is a husband, father, and grandfather. He’s an accomplished businessman, a car collector, and enthusiast, a self-proclaimed lead foot behind the wheel even served the Navy in the Vietnam War.

Photo of Wes Drelleshak on course in the Sheely Collection Ranchero

Wes Drelleshak wins the truck class with an amazing time

Anyone who has spent time with Sheely can tell you that he is an extraordinary man. He’s kind, honest and generous. He has incredible stories to regale you of his youth when he was detained by authorities for exceeding the speed limit, that he had one too many times settled differences through fisticuffs, and that his wife, Marlene, was the catalyst when it came to racing. He’ll be the first to tell you how blessed his life has been. Sure he’s a successful businessman, but his real wealth lies in his ability and choice to give back. He credits an employer that encouraged him to participate fundraising for an event for the United Way. To this day he still feels that his reward was far greater than any amount of time he’d put into his fundraising efforts.

Photo of driver's lined up for warm up on Sunday for the shootout

Sunday's Celebrity Shootout Warm Up Laps at the track

Fast forward to this past weekend right smack dab in the middle of December, what some might see as the busiest time of the year what with impending Holidays and family obligations. But Sheely saw an opportunity to draw on his racing communities sense of charity and created the Inaugural Sheely Collection Charity AutoX and Celebrity Shootout.

Combining his passion for giving with his passion for motorsports, Sheely and the Racing Byrds created an event like none other. In the end, the Inaugural Sheely Collection AutoX & Celebrity Shootout raised almost $25,000. Our (Santa) hat’s off to Pat Sheely, Eric Sheely, and Wes Drelleshak along with Rob and Trish Byrd of the Racing Byrds and every one of the 48 participants for making this event so successful.

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