With the racing season in full swing at the Merced Speedway, Los Banos native Kristie Shearer finds herself in the middle of a tight race in the Hobby Stocks division, trailing Merced’s Raul Rodriguez by four points.
Shearer, a former schoolteacher who took up racing about five years ago, finished eighth in the main race Saturday, bringing her season total to 206 points. Unfortunately for her, Rodriguez placed fourth, earning 17 points to bring his total to 210.
“He’s a really good racer. He has experience, and he’s been doing it a long time,” Shearer said. “He’s just a really good driver, and I’m still finding my way around out there.”
Shearer took up racing at the encouragement of her husband, Michael Shearer, an Atwater native who grew up around the raceway with a father working in pit crews. In her first race, she won her main event. The next week, she rolled her car.
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“It’s a long story, and it involves accusing somebody else of something,” she said with a laugh. “So let’s not go there.”
This year, Shearer hasn’t finished in the top two yet, but she has placed consistently in position three through eight, with third-place finishes coming in the opener on March 22, on April 19 and on June 21 – which was a good day for the family with Michael winning his main event in the IMCA Sportmod class.
Michael and crew chief Roger Guthrie handle not only Michael and Kristie’s car, but they own another sportmod, driven by Bruce Nelson of Winton. Nelson currently sits three spots above Michael Shearer in the Sportmod standings – Shearer is ninth with 298 points, and Nelson is sixth with 364.
“He’s racing against his own car,” Kristie said. “It’s pretty fun to watch.”
She added that she’s pretty comfortable racing in the Hobby Stocks division – the IMCA Sportmods class, where Michael races, and IMCA Modified class deal with more powerful engines. Kristie drives on a Chevy Nova chassis put together by Michael and Guthrie.
“It’s a wonderful car. I’m not driving the car up to its potential,” she said.
Other locals racing at Merced Speedway include Dawn Fandrey (tied for 33rd in the Hobby Stocks class), Harley Turner Jr. (14th in the IMCA Sportmod class and 29th in the IMCA Modified class), Vince Beltran (tied for 30th in the IMCA Modified class) and Robert Fandrey (35th in the IMCA Sportmod class) from Los Banos; Roy Hart Jr. (first in the Super Street Stocks class, 16th in the Hobby Stocks class and 18th in the Mini Stocks class) and Ryan Hart (14th in the Mini Stocks class) from Dos Palos; and Robert Dias (20th in the IMCA Modified classand tied for fourth in the Super Street Mods class) from Stevinson. Rick Diaz, from Chowchilla but married into a Los Banos family, currently sits at second in the IMCA Sportmod class.