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Tom Shelar was loved and respected by many as this event attests to. We should all be so fortunate The evening was a celebration of his life cut short. It was not a fancy affair, wasn't meant to be. But it was the who's who of drag racing from far and wide gathering in a very large room that wasn't large enough to remember a key player of our drag racing family.

We will make every effort to ID the over 300 in attendance but if some go unrecognized it is not by intent, just lack of information.

Here are some very cool random shots in somewhat chronological order. We only wish the love and humor could transcend the photos.

 

First and foremost, this incredible tribute to a friend of so many was orchestrated by drag racing power couple Mendy Fry and hubby Cole Coonce. Guests flowed in and the bench racing and taco feast began. Coonce put together an awesome video tribute to Tom's life on and off the track that played in a continuous loop on the stage. Quite a night it was. TRIBUTE VIDEO

 

DSR was represented by Mike Lewis.

 

Joel Gruzen, Mendy and Mike Salinas

 

 

John Bowser and Eugene "Geno" Gastelum

 

Bob Frey and Dave Wallace Jr. with Sharon and Bob Muravez

 

Geno and Jim Adolph

 

Bruce Dyda and Don Long, Chassis are us.

 

 

Dan Kaplan book ended by the Floyd's

 

This one screams for a caption.

 

There was a steady line for the all you could eat tacos that were served at the host kitchen.

 

Spider Razon likes his tacos.

 

Rian Konno and Dave Uyehara

 

Gigi Carleton-Schubeck, Linda and Larry Ofria

 

Mike Fuller, Cole, Bob McLennan and Brendan Murry.

 

Walter holding the bar down.

 

Jamie Shores Fraijo, Cheryl Glenn and Rich Hicks

 

 

 

Ed McCulloch and Cindy Gibbs

 

Cindy with son Steven

 

Paul Schavrien and Steve Gibbs

 

NTF Chuck Neal and Rick White

 

 

Donny Couch and The Ace

 

Brett Johansen, Don Ewald, Don Irvin, Mike Lewis and Joe Rode

 

Angela Reeves, Don Anderson (aka Donnie Ho) and Geno who seems to be in every other photo.

 

Blake Bowser and Mike English

 

 

 

Ross Howard and Gibbs

 

Henry Walther , Cindy, Ed and Gary Beck

 

Dave Jeffers and AA/FA driver Randy Bradford

 

Brian Hope, Heather Roberts, Ron Hope, Darr Hawthorne and Jim Adolph.

 

 

International motorsports photojournalist Andy Willsheer, Dave Wallace Jr., Mike Collin and Dana Winters.

 

Ace photog Bob Brown

 

Muravez, Ron Hope, Gibbs and Brian Hope.

 

Jamie Shores Fraijo, Harry Burkholder and Pam Conrad

 

 

Frey, Sutton, Irvin and Floyd

 

Brett Johansen, Sutton and Rick McGee

 

Ron Hayes, Rick Shelar, Gruzen, Brad Thompson and Walt Stevens

 

From Firebird Raceway, John New and NFC shoe Rian Konno.

 

Dave Wallace Jr, Joe Schubeck and wife Gigi

 

 

Ewald and Frey

 

Tom's niece Amy, Cole and Amy's Mom Carol, Tom's sister. Got that?

 

Patrick Shelar's girlfriend "Gabby", Jennifer Johansen and Mendy

 

Dave Kommel, Jim McCraw and Buzz Baylis. Mr. McCraw was the editor of Super Stock and Drag Illustrated while Kommel was still in high school in the 60s, later editor of Hot Rod and has done everything there is to do in automotive journalism and PR.

 

 

Mike O’Brien and Bucky Austin, soon to be NFC champs again.

 

Jeanette O’Brien left. Heidi Austin, Bobby Cottrell

 

Marc Gewertz, Richard Reel (see below) and Mike Salinas

 

Harry Burkholder, Richard Reel, partner Robert Reel's Dad. He and his wife unfortunately lost their Porter Ranch home to fire just before the CHRR. and Marc

 

Linda and Don

 

Troy Glenn and Muravez

 

Sean Bellemeur

 

Bill Dunlap and Darrell Conrad

 

John New and Cindy

 

Geno and Jim Murphy

 

Terry Morrow from AJPE, Darrell Reid and NTF driver Bret Williamson

 

Larry and Geno Ofria

 

Pete Jensen and Heather Roberts

 

Marc and fellow National Dragster photog Randy Anderson

 

Adam Sorokin bookended by the Muravez's

 

Kenny Logan, Cindy and Ace

 

All the while drag racing icon Kenny Youngblood was sitting at table in the back of the room personalizing his High Speed Motorsports dragster rendering for anyone who asked.

 

 

The entire High Speed crew and the entire Shelar family were on hand. Here Erik & Leslie McMorrow, Kyle Wakefield and Nick San Angelo put their stake on a table.

 

Danielle Berger, Patrick's mom and Tom's life partner. On the left is her lifelong friend from France, Monique.

 

Right to Left: Patrick's (Shelar) girlfriend, Gabby, Scott Kelly - long time family business associate, Danielle, Monique, then Carolynn and Nestor Martinez, Gabby's parents

 

Frankie and Rebekka Hedge, Mario Campos, Karen Beebe, Justin Grogan and Alanna Kuhn.

 

Alanna and Carol Shelar-Dobson (Tom's sister).

 

Molly Shelar, Dustin Uhl (Amy's boyfriend), Amy Dobson, Carol Dobson, Rick Shelar, Tami and Darrell Reid.

 

Shelar siblings, Carol and Rick

 

Mary and Bill Dunlap

 

Amy with Maria Stevens

 

Gabby, Patrick, Carol and Patrick's Mom Danielle

 

Addressing a SRO room, Mendy made her opening remarks and proceeded to reflect and expound on her years with Tom and his High Speed Motorsports team. Although there were noticeable emotions, she kept it how Tom would have wanted, light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She did a polished and well received segway into introducing Patrick Shelar, Tom's only child and now Cad-Cam Consulting torch bearer.

 

 

Patrick offered insights and stories about Tom that only a son could.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up was Bellemeur who is also a polished speaker and a wealth of Tom Tales. Sean not only drove and crewed for High Speed Motorsports, but he also got to know Tom the business man working at Cad-Cam. So, you have a very cool boss who also owned a Top Fuel dragster. A formula that makes for some great stories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After holding the room captive, Sean turned the mic over to one of Tom's oldest friends, Walt Stevens who actually got Tom into drag racing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Leighton, who did the Bowling Green/ Cordova Road trip with Tom this year. He is also the starting line guy at Famoso.

 

 

 

The last victim was Don Ewald, with a deer in the hedlights look, who knew Tom on several levels for over 2 decades.

 

 

 

 

 

After a remembrance of Tom, it was time for some fun. Ewald called up Patrick, Mendy and Rick. Frankie Hedge assisted.

 

After trying to explain why you shouldn't drink and shop online, he relayed the story of how the award at hand came to be. From its discovery on a drag racing website, a deal made, the shock of its unexpected size, a trip from the Midwest to a custom sign painter in Medford, OR. and a trip to Bakersfield in a Prius. Now that is the Readers Digest version of how this piece was commissioned. Helping Ewald finance the project was AAFD Inc., Arlene Eliason, Dennis Taylor and Bob Brown.

 

 

 

There were those who didn't get this but if you have ever been at or seen photos of a HSMS winners circle, you will. Its too bad that the gold leaf lettring didn't like the cameras.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crown Royal aside, it was Bob McLennan who gave his friendship with Tom and then introduced stand-up comedian, Ryan Dalton all the way from LA <Ivo grin> who had never been to a drag race but was armed with jabs/info supplied by Coonce and McLennan. Funny stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of Dalton's prime targets was Adam Sorokin.

 

 

Yea, he took it well.

 

 

 

 

 

It began with Mendy and ended with Mendy who offered her sincere appreciation to all that attended.

 

 

Larry Shelar, Rick, Mendy, Carol, Patrick and Don

 

L to R, Jason Ingold of CLK Engineering (manufactures Tom,s big show split manifold) and a guy that works for him (sorry), Rob Dusenbury of CAD/cAM Consulting, and… (his brother?)

 

 

Sean Bellemeur is living the American dream personified. At the age of 38 he has a Norman Rockwell family, beautiful wife Ashley, Baby Audrey, Kiera on dads shoulders, Peyton, the oldest. Then there's a supportive Dad, Greg kinda photo bombing. Add to that he is the current two time NHRA Alcohol Funny World Champion and a torch bearer for he late boss's Cad-Cam Inc. It's good to be Sean Bellemeur.

 

According to Sean, its Kiera who will be driving a nitro car by the age of 12. LOL

 

 

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF TOM SHELAR, A VIDEO TRIBUTE  by Cole Coonce

 

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