INVERNESS, FL : While many drivers traveled multiple states to compete in the INEX Winter Nationals at Citrus County Speedway in Inverness, Florida, Doug Sheldon has traveled over 4,600 miles to get some racing in during the winter months.
Sheldon, 54, from Anchorage, Alaska, is the reigning Legends division champion at Alaska Raceway Park. Last year, he watched the Winter Nationals at his shop on LegendsNation TV and wanted to compete in the race.
“I watched this event last year on LegendsNation TV and I watched some of the people I raced with in Las Vegas and it’s hard to watch,” Sheldon told LegendsNation. “I’ve been a mechanic most of my life. I own an auto repair shop out of Anchorage. We were watching this race there last year. We have a Smart TV in our weight room. We have the LegendsNation TV app on our TV. Anytime there’s a race, we pull it up and watch it at work.”
After watching the race last year, Sheldon and Mike Anderson decided to make the over 4,600-mile trip to Inverness, Florida to go racing. When Sheldon arrived, he was ecstatic with the number of cars and the summertime conditions.
“Mike Anderson and I, we have Havasu last November and we rode down together, and we just started talking about it and decided we were going to do it,” Sheldon said. “I’m glad I’m here. I’ve never been to Florida. I’ve never been this far east. It’s 30 degrees at home right now. It’s extremely hot to me but it’s probably only in the 70s. I’m glad I’m here. Hopefully I do well. The track looks great. I can’t believe there are so many cars here that I’m going to beat.”
While Citrus County is thousands of miles away, the culture is not any different for Sheldon – even if he has not raced with many of the competitors in the field.
“The temperature, it’s not that different than Alaska in the summertime,” Sheldon commented. “All you’ve got to do to go from summer to winter, it’s just a plane flight. It’s not that bad. I’ve raced Las Vegas the last few years. Other than that, if [other competitors] haven’t been to Alaska, I haven’t raced with them.”
After the Winter Nationals, Sheldon will prepare for another season of racing at Alaska Raceway Park while also working physically to prepare himself to go road course racing.
“Right now, I’m probably going to tone it down a bit and finish out the season which start in May in Alaska and ends in September,” Sheldon explained. “After that, I want to run road course. The reason I’m not running road course right now is I get motion sickness. For me to run it, I have to take a sedative and you can’t race like that. I’ve been to a therapist. I’m going to start vestibular training. We’ll see if I can get to a point where I run road course. It would be my goal to do that next winter.”
Sheldon will be competing in the blue and white no. 30 car in the Master’s class. Feature racing in the INEX Winter Nationals will get underway on Monday afternoon around 12pm EST. The races will be broadcast live on LegendsNation TV for those unable to attend.