Tom Shaw 

1958 - 2016

It is hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that Tom Shaw is no longer with us.  Up until the end, he had been in communication with many of us after he returned from the hospital.  We all believed he was on the mend and soon we’d be collaborating with him on his many articles he had in the pipeline.

I’m not the only one to say this, but Tom had the ability to write like no other person I’ve ever known.  He could take a mundane subject and actually make it an interesting read.  He was a word-smith like no other.  The muscle car community has suffered a tremendous loss, especially for us here at the Pure Stock Drags.  Tom was our best ambassador to the outside world, believing deeply in what we were doing, and wanted to take it places we never thought of. 

Bob Boden and I started the Pure Stocks in the early 90’s, holding the first three races at Milan Dragway, from 1992 to 1994.  Even though the location was ideal, it being the closest track to the Motor City, we were having problems getting the word out to muscle car owners who weren’t just our close friends. 

Enter Muscle Car Review magazine.  Both of us subscribed to it, and it seemed the best way for us to spread the word back then.  MCR had a new editor, some guy named Tom Shaw.  We had actually met him at the 1994 Year One Musclecar Shootout that was held at Dragway 42 in Ohio.  We told Tom how our race was different from all the ones we had been participating at in the 80s and early 90s.  Instead of the normal “King of the Hill” format, where the fastest car is crowned the winner at the end of the day, we used the “Best of Three” format where all cars are paired up based on their best qualifying e.t., and then race in a best-of-three shootout.  Half the cars would be winners, and the other half runner-ups.  Tom really liked what we were doing, but his attention was focused on the Year One race.

After our 1994 Milan Pure Stock race, Bob and I sent pictures and a quick write up to Tom.  We didn’t know what he’d do with it, if anything at all.  Well, much to our surprise, Tom ran an edited version of it under their Idle Chatter section, in the April/May 1995 issue.  It was only four short paragraphs with one lonely picture.  It doesn’t sound impressive, but it was our start. 

We talked with Tom more, convincing him that this race was a perfect marriage with MCR.  But it was an expensive trip from Florida just to cover this fledgling event.  To make the trip worthwhile for the magazine, more than just the race would have to be covered.  Fortunately, Tom was able to line up a new-versus-old Camaro shootout between a ’95 SLP Z28 SS, a ’69 SS L78, and a ’71 Z-28 which was to be run concurrently with the Pure Stocks.

Tom became a believer after attending the 1995 race, the first one held at the Mid-Michigan Motorplex, near Stanton, MI.  He has returned just about every year, doing his best to promote the event in his magazines, as well as others.  During those years, Tom became more than a business acquaintance, he became a good friend.  And he became friends with all of the Pure Stock participants.  The one or two times Tom could not attend the race, everyone had the same thought, it just wasn’t the same without Tom.  And now, it never will be.

For all that Tom Shaw has done for our hobby over the years Dan, Dennis and Lyndon would like to give back to the Shaw family, and we would like to challenge all our participants and spectators to do the same.  There is a go fund me page set up for Tom’s two sons.  Please look into your hearts and help these boys out.  If you would like to donate below is the information.  We thank you in advance for your help in remembering Tom.

Go Fund Me Page:  https://www.gofundme.com/tom-shaw-memorial-fund 

- Dan Jensen