The 2011 season marked a memorable year for 2011 Barrie Speedway Pure Stock Champion Shawn Murray as he became the first driver from Canada to win the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Division III Championship.
Though for 2012, Shawn Murray would up the challenge as he would move up from the Pure Stock division to Late Model. It'd be a great season for Murray as he finished sixth in the track point standings, following four feature wins, 14 top fives and 28 top 10s in 34 feature starts. In the Whelen Series standings, it places him as the highest finishing rookie of the year. Track standings have him finishing to Thayne Hallyburton, 22 points behind.
Following the season, Murray answered some questions about 2012, last year's experience winning the championship and more.
1. What are some of your thoughts on the season?
At the start of the season we were hoping to be able to compete for a top 5 spot at some point in the season and keep up with some of the top runners. We were so pumped to win our first feature on July 28th and then follow that up with 3 more feature wins. All and all our rookie year was more then we had ever hoped for.
2. What has the jump from Pure Stock to Late Model been like? What would say is the biggest difference?
It's been awesome, but tough learned how important communication with my crew chief is. Unlike in the mini stock I did all my own adjustments, not having anyone to rely on. I was lucky enough to get a great crew and very experienced crew chief (Ray McCaughey) who knew exactly what adjustments to make on the car to make it competitive.
3. How'd you get started in racing?
Good friend of mine Jim Anderson called me one Saturday morning and asked me if I wanted to go to the races to watch his friend Steve race a mini stock, after that night went back a couple more times with Jim and was hooked. Bought a car near the end of the season and then started racing in the mini stock division. Always had an interest, as a little kid my dad would bring my brother and myself to Barrie speedway to watch.
4. I know a spent the year with John Gaunt on his CASCAR team in 2006. Talk about that experience and the biggest thing that you learned that has helped you since.
I spent three years in that series starting in 2007, I learned that attention to detail is huge on any race car, that taking notes, exact measurements is key to a fast competitive car. I also learned that to be a successful driver in any series you need to have a dedicated team.
5. Looking back on last year, what are some of your thoughts on the NASCAR Whelen Series Division III title?
It was definitely an honor to be on stage with some of NASCAR's greatest short track racers. It was an unbelievable experience to be racing against people from all over North America and to finish 1st overall was one of my greatest accomplishments. Probably my most memorable championship of all three.
6. How was the experience in North Carolina with regards celebrating the accomplishment?
Was more then I ever thought it would be. The total atmosphere the excitement was overwhelming and something I will never forget. They totally know how to make you feel like that you have really accomplished something in racing.also making some friends down there that I will have the rest of my life
7. Who would you call your racing hero?
I would have to say I have two, John Gaunt for his total determination, and total dedication for his team and car also a very patient driver i have learned alot from him over the years and have some of the best memories racing with him and Kerry Micks, I really likes Kerry's aggressive driving style, if he has a 10th place car he will get up on the wheel and drive it into 5th place, he is also not afraid to use the "chrome horn"
8. Most memorable moment in racing
Meeting my future wife Sue at the race track.
9. Biggest lesson learned
Patience and to take the advice of seasoned veterans.
10. Crew members, sponsors and others that you'd like to thank for their support this year.
I have to thank a lot of people for there support this year, first I would like to thank all my crew guys and there family for allowing them to come every week. Guy, John, Drew, Chris and Griffin. Also would like to thank Kyle from Baker Performance Parts for giving me the opportunity to race his late model this year. Dwayne Baker for all his advice and encouragement, and Sherry for all her support. Now to my crew chief Ray McCaughey, I can't thank him enough for having faith, patience and encouragement and total dedication to me. His vast knowledge of how to make the car fast, all the success this year is because of him. Now onto the people that got me onto the track, Glenn from Lake Simcoe Heating and Air Conditioning, Tom from the Hitch House, Cheryl from Grantmyre Painting, Mr. Coates, and Jane from Financial Transitions, without great sponsors and people like this our season would never of happened.