Nic Sheppard photo

Gobles resident Nic Sheppard, 18, a senior at South Haven High School, is shown with his Ford Formula racing car prior to competing at the SCCA Championship Runoffs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

When Nic Sheppard isn’t attending classes at South Haven High School, he’s honing his racing skills on the race track.

Sheppard, 18, and a senior at South Haven, qualified this year for the Sports Car Club of America’s National Championship Runoffs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Ind. The runoffs took place Sept. 28 through Oct. 3.

“The SCCA National Championship Runoffs is the end-of-year championship race for Sports Car Club of America club racing competitors,” said Nic’s mother, Julie Sheppard, who along with Nic’s dad, Dale, have watched their son hone his racing skills on various tracks for more than a dozen years.

Nic began competing in races at the age of 5 with kart racing and has advanced to formula racing with his Formula Ford. He now is an SCCA licensed road race driver and national-level kart driver who is a member of the North Star Driver Development Team managed by Geoff Kaeser, former Indy and Nascar crew chief.

In 2019, Nic was named Great Lakes Region Formula F champion. Over the years, he has accumulated 52 career driving victories, including three national wins and 14 regional victories in races spanning from Wisconsin to Florida.

Qualifying for this year’s SCCA Championship Runoffs in Indianapolis was a fete for the young driver. Only divisional champions and other top drivers from the SCCA’s 116 regions compete in the racing event.

Over the past three years, Nic has raced his Formula F at a variety of tracks, including Gingerman, in Lacota; Gratton; Waterford Hills; Road America and the Mid Ohio Sportscar track reaching speeds in excess of 130 miles per hours.

At the Runoffs in Indianapolis, Nic was in 14th place for over half the Formula F race and was starting to move up in the lineup a car spun out in front of him. He was then hit from behind by another vehicle. The crash caused damage to Nic’s car and he was only able to finish 12 of the 19 laps.

Not deterred, he is focusing on next year.

“Nic is already spending hours back on the simulator and prepping for next season,” his mom said.