Once upon a time, it seemed everything was falling into place for Pete Shepherd as he had a Camping World Truck Series ride with Roush Fenway Racing. However, a lack of funding saw that fall apart, and he dipped his toes in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series. But for the same reasons, it seemed it wouldn’t come together – despite visiting victory lane on multiple occasions.
Shepherd did something about it, electing to go to school for marketing and has now opened his own business – Driven 4 Communications. The focus is on getting drivers sponsors while helping market their brand with websites, hero cards, and apparel.
It makes sense to have him working on a marketing side, too, considering he isn’t the type to be turning wrenches.
“To be honest, it wasn’t my thing,” he said at the Motorama Custom Car and Motorsports Show. “I missed my high school prom because I was in the shop, but I’d rather not be there – but it’s the easiest way to keep out of trouble. I didn’t meet my wife back then because I couldn’t find dates. I’m not a hands-on guy. That’s why I stick to the marketing side of things.
“I think that is the way the sport is going anymore. Being a diehard racer – that’s not the way to get it done anymore. The marketing is needed to get the dollars and sense to do this. I think if you work on that side first, then you worry about the wrenches because whose going to pay those guys if you don’t have it?”
Everything has now fallen into place that in 2018, he will return to the NASCAR Pinty’s Series.
“I love the style of the Pinty’s Series cars,” he said. “I love the way they drive, and they’re big and strong. I mean, you can go rub off a guy pretty hard more than a usual series and bump and bang and it makes racing great. To be back in here again in this division, it means so much, and I’m looking forward to being a part of the show.
“I’m actually looking forward to putting on a show myself, so every race in this series is going to be top-notch and exciting as possible.”
He won’t be returning to the fray entirely without recent racing experience, spending last season running a limited Super Late Model and Pro Late Model program. He was able to be successful in both, with multiple top-five finishes across the board.
While admitting dipping into a different type of car was difficult at first, he says the transition was easy thanks to the equipment underneath him.
“Mike McColl gave me exceptional cars and made my transition easy,” he said. “I think it was a stepping stone. I was in the series a long time ago but coming back in with Pinty’s and NASCAR together; it’s that much better.”
He also noted the lessons learned in the Pinty’s Series allowed him to be successful in the Late Models.
“I think the lack of downforce and drivability of the cars – the shocks aren’t quite as strong as what you run in late models, so that makes the racing really good, as well,” he continued. “There was a great race at Jukasa Motor Speedway last year as they put on a great show. You look at the late model division, and a bunch of us guys who had Pinty’s Series resumes that we’re in the top-five. Jason Hathaway won the race, and we were one of the guys that was second and Cayden Lapcevich was there. Even though we don’t race late models that often, I think the drivability of these cars and how hard they are to drive that they make us look good in that race because we have to drive these cars every single lap.”
Now back in familiar territory, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Shepherd in victory lane on multiple occasions in 2018.
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