By Mary Lendzion
Photos courtesy of Kelly Shotwell
The moment that Kelly Shotwell stepped onto the NMRA JDM Engineering Limited Street stage in the fall of 2017, he stood out.
He set the pace in qualifying with an 8.93 and secured the win that weekend at Beech Bend Raceway in Kentucky, in the 1995 Mustang he had purchased from his brother, Casey Shotwell, and prepped with a 347 cubic-inch engine built by Nyes Racing Engines, Trick Flow 11R heads, Trick Flow intake, Precision turbo, JW Powerglide and Holley EFI system.
Then, in 2018, he led qualifying in the category at four events, and made it to the Aerospace Components Circle at those four events. He was in the chase for the championship when he ran into issues with his combination and subsequently sat out the last race of the season.
“I thought I was going to sell the car, and someone wanted to buy it, but when it came time to actually turn it over to them, I backed out,” said Shotwell.
While the Carlisle, Ohio-based driver decided to focus on family and work rather than racing in 2019, his car and combination were on his mind, and he began making modifications in February of this year for a return to racing.
“I decided that I wanted to come back to Limited Street and chase a championship,” said Shotwell, whose brothers, Casey and Cary, will be competing in NMRA QA1 True Street. “So, I called (NMRA/NMCA National Tech Director) Roger Conley and told him I was coming back, and I got some clarification on some of the rules from him.”
Shotwell, who had a 321 cubic-inch engine in addition to a 347 cubic-inch engine, took the 321 cubic-inch engine to Nyes Racing Engines to be freshened and to have a new FlowTech Induction camshaft, with specs by Ed Curtis, installed. He decided to pair it with a new Precision 76mm turbo, and back it with a new PTC converter with specs by Dusty Bradford and a Powerglide by Turner Racing Transmissions. He also has a Precision 88mm massaged by Jason Zimmers that he’ll turn to when he runs some local races.
Shotwell hired Jeff Wightman to rewire his car, which is nicknamed “Betty White,” from front to back, and Wightman will also tune for Shotwell with a Holley Dominator.
Kelly Aiken of KellTrac massaged sets of Viking shocks and struts, and Aerospace Components shipped new front and rear brakes for the car which rolls on UPR suspension components and Mickey Thompson drag radials wrapped around Weld wheels. Shotwell’s brother, Casey, along with one of Casey’s coworkers, Mark Merritts of Liberty Collision in Ohio, repainted the car a custom white color with a matte clear coat.
“We’re almost done working on the car, and as soon as we are, we’ll get it on the chassis dyno with Jeff (Wightman),” said Shotwell.
Then, Shotwell and his crew, including crew chief Bo Webb, his brother, Casey, and Chip Morgan, will hit a test session before heading to the Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl presented by HPJ Performance, July 30-Aug. 2 at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois.
“We’ll have all of the data from when we raced last time, so hopefully, we’ll be somewhat close to where we need to be when we come out,” said Shotwell, who was laying down 8.70s and 160 mph when he last raced. “I’m excited and hoping to show up and do well, like we were fortunate enough to do before.”