Legendary Pacific Northwest racer Monte Shelton has died at age 85. His professional racing career included appearances in the US Road Racing Championship in 1965, ’67, and ’68. He competed regularly in the SCCA’s Can-Am series, from its inception in 1966 through 1974, and made several starts in Formula 5000.
But it was in the Trans Am Series that Shelton achieved his greatest professional racing success. In over 40 starts between 1976 and 1987, the Portland, Oregon, driver racked up five victories, two pole positions, and 14 podium finishes driving a variety of Porsches.
On the amateur side, Shelton won the (Portland) Rose Cup race a record seven times, and had nine second-place finishes. He entered the very first Rose Cup race in 1961, and his seven victories were spread over five decades.
Shelton qualified for the SCCA National Championship Runoffs four times, first in 1968, when the event was held at Riverside International Raceway. His best finish came in 1975 — a second place in A Sports Racing at Road Atlanta driving a McLaren 8F, which he also raced in Can-Am.
Outside of SCCA, Monte competed 10 times in the 24 Hours of Daytona and had a third-place finish in 1979. He also competed several times in the 12 Hours of Sebring, and in the IMSA Camel GT series.
Shelton was a lifetime member of SCCA, and was one of the six founding members of the Oregon Region in 1962. In recent years, he raced a Volkswagen Rabbit at the regional level, and held a current competition license.
“I have held an SCCA competition license for 60 consecutive years, and never had a waiver,” he said just weeks ago.
His final race was in March of this year.
Off-track, Shelton was Portland’s premier British car dealer, selling everything from MG to Rolls-Royce over the years. In retirement he maintained a small business dealing in specialty vintage sports cars, known as “Monte’s Motors” after his first-ever car lot.
Shelton is survived by his wife Sue; daughters Darla Krieske and Jamie Martell; sons Tony and Neil Shelton; and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.