Jeremiah Shingledecker is celebrating his 20th racing season in 2016. It doesn’t seem possible that it’s been 20 years already. As 18 year old Jeremiah & his dad, Mike walked the pits of Mercer Raceway Park looking for a used racecar to buy, Jeremiah knew he wanted a modified. Family members such as Terry Wheeler, Leigh Wheeler, and Kevin Thompson were successful Stock Car drivers at the time, but there was no doubt Jeremiah wanted a modified. He and his dad ended up buying a car from Larry Johns. The car was a Troyer. It was so old that even Troyer couldn’t date it. The best guess is somewhere between 1978-1982.
Knowing absolutely nothing about modifieds, Jeremiah quickly made that car his own, working in a garage that was so small you couldn’t walk the entire way around the car without going outside & coming in the other door. Jeremiah & his dad even had to raise the roll cage about 2” so his head didn’t stick out the top. He built new body panels outside in the snow from material provided by one of his first sponsors ever…..Flexospan of Sandy Lake, PA. The sponsor was obtained by his crew member, the late Lew Clayton. Lew was Jeremiah’s uncle & enjoyed all things auto-related. He even helped build Jeremiah’s first couple motors with Jeremiah’s dad.
Even though green is supposedly an unlucky color in racing, it was Jeremiah’s favorite, so green & gold it was. Now it was time for the number (which was spray painted on the car with a homemade stencil). Jeremiah had already determined it would be 37md, in memory of his late brother, Michael. The summer before Michael died, he used # 37 for his demo derby car. Michael chose that number to honor his mom, who was 37 that year. Jeremiah borrowed 37 & added the “md” for “Michael’s Dream.” This is why Jeremiah has been “Living the Dream” all these years.
People race for a variety of reasons……Jeremiah’s reason started as a way to heal himself and his family over the loss of a loved one. You see, the whole family is involved. Jeremiah’s dad, Mike has built every engine Jeremiah has ever raced. His mom, Patty has always been an important part of the team too, whether it’s making sure his fire suit is clean, the crew has food, or watching his 2 beautiful girls so he can race. In past years, Jeremiah’s younger brother, Travis helped lead the crew before jumping behind the wheel himself. After a long hiatus, Travis will be making his return to modified racing this year, so it will be an exciting year for the Shingledeckers. Travis will once again be running number 73md, also honoring his brother. Jeremiah’s wife even helps turn wrenches.