First Responder Sheldon Crouse Finds Time for Racing at the Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series
For Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series driver Sheldon Crouse, the adrenaline rush of driving Legend Cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway is very similar to his profession off the track: saving lives. Crouse, a paramedic in Cabarrus County, enjoys the thrill and meticulous nature of both professions.
"Both are very fast-paced of course; you've got to think on your toes all the time," Crouse said. "Much like a race is never the same, an emergency response is never the same, you have to take both second by second."
Originally from Groveland, California, Crouse began racing go-karts in California with current Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series Pro driver Steven Cantrell at age six. He moved to North Carolina the day after he graduated high school to pursue a racing dream.
"Steven and I excelled at each level of go-kart racing and just moved up the ranks, from club level up to regional level up to national level," Crouse said. "Steven got me started racing Legends just last year. We put a car together in a week and soon I was on the track racing without even ever practicing. We finished fourth in the points standings that year—pretty amazing."
For the 21-year-old, practice does not make perfect. Because of his paramedic schedule, Crouse can rarely attend the Monday night practice round at Charlotte Motor Speedway because every third day he is protecting Cabarrus County citizens as a part of a 24-hour shift.
"Sometimes it is rough, especially running without sleep," Crouse explained. "I get off work Tuesday morning and then come straight here when the gates open just to work on my car and make adjustments and get my car ready—that is what I did this week."
Despite a busy schedule, Crouse, who currently resides in Mooresville, has tallied two victories this year in the Legend Car Semi-Pro division at Auburndale Raceway in Florida and at Kentucky Speedway.
"My co-workers are familiar with racing and they can swap someone in if my schedule falls on race day," Crouse said. "With work it has been hard to race, but thankfully it is local and I work 10 minutes down the road so I can get to Charlotte Motor Speedway easily."
Saving lives as an emergency responder has taught Crouse not only about the importance of life but also how to remain calm under pressure, a skill that he incorporates while racing Legend Cars.
"I used to think that there was so much pressure and stress involved in racing," Crouse said. "But now I can be a lot more relaxed, because you don't know pressure until you have somebody's life in your hands."
Fans can watch Crouse and other aspiring professional auto racers compete when the 21st annual Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series concludes Tuesday, July 29. In addition to a full slate of Legend Cars and Bandoleros, the night will feature the annual Champions' Night and fireworks celebration.
Tickets for the Summer Shootout Series are available in advance at the speedway ticket office and at Gates 4 and 5 the night of the event. Parking is free. Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action starting at 5:10 p.m.
Opening ceremonies are at 6:45 p.m. and feature races are scheduled to conclude by approximately 10 p.m.
For tickets to the Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series, call Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.
For live updates during the Summer Shootout Series, follow hashtag #SummerShootout on Twitter or visit http://www.ontrackwithuslci.com/livetiming.html for live results.
Connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy or become a Facebook fan at www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway.