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Racer Profiles Archives
Roxanne Shepard

Type of Racing: Drag Racing

Race Series: National Street Car Association (NSCA) EFI Eliminator
National Mustang Racers Association (NMRA) Modular Motor Class

Introduction: Roxanne has always loved automobiles and racing. Whether it was cheering on Shirley Muldowney or her favorite driver at Mt. Clemens Speedway, racing has always been a part of her life.

In 1996, when she was established in her career and could finally afford it, she bought her first new car, a 1996 Mustang GT. She did not know it at the time but her life was about to change.

In 1997, after some coaxing from her sister, Roxanne decided to take the car out to Milan Dragway in Milan, Michigan and try drag racing. Even though she did everything wrong during her first outing (like staging with her rear tires), she was hooked. From that point on, she knew she had found a sport that she loved and more importantly, a sport that she felt she could be competitive in.

Roxanne continued to race at local tracks and even ventured out of state to attend drag racing events. Shortly after she began racing, she met her future husband, Barry Shepard, at a drag race in Columbus, OH. When she first approached Barry, she just wanted to ask him a few questions about his 1996 Mustang GT and about racing. Those few questions eventually turned into a life long partnership both on and off the track when Roxanne and Barry were married in 1998. To this day Barry continues to be a great source of support and inspiration for Roxanne's racing career. Roxanne gives Barry much of the credit for her racing success.

During 1997, Roxanne developed a relationship with Ford Racing. At that time, Ford Racing was developing a supercharger kit for their new 4.6 L Modular Motor and they were looking for a person with a 1996 Mustang GT that would be willing to let them use the vehicle as a test mule while representing Ford Racing and their products at events across the country. Ford Racing and their offer, gave Roxanne the opportunity to prove herself, and she has done an excellent job. Roxanne has continued her relationship with Ford Racing as a test/project vehicle for the past 7 years.

Roxanne sold the 1996 GT in 1999 and entered into a racing partnership with Village Ford of Dearborn Michigan, Ford Racing and Livernois Motorsports campaigning a canary yellow 1999 Mustang GT. Roxanne nicknamed the car ?Tweety? and the name stuck. Now, not only do people call the car ?Tweety?, but they often refer to Roxanne as ?Tweety? as well.

Current Season: In 2004, Roxanne competed in two circuits. She ran in the National Mustang Racers Association (NMRA)?s Modular Motor Class, which is for Ford vehicles running the 4.6L or 5.4L engine, and in the National Street Car Association (NSCA)?s EFI Eliminator, which is for American made vehicles equipped with electronic fuel injection.

In September of this year, Roxanne suffered a serious crash while competing at an NMRA event at US 131 in Martin, Michigan. A malfunction in the rear end of her car caused Roxanne to hit the cement retaining wall head on at 80 mph. Only her driving skills and quick thinking prevented a more serious accident. Fortunately, Roxanne walked away with only some bruises, but ?Tweety? did not fair as well. The car was a total loss. Disappointed that her successful season would be cut short but ever confident, Roxanne approached Ford Racing, Livernois Motorsports and Village Ford for assistance and they responded by supporting her with a new project, a 2004 Cobra (which, by the way will be yellow and yes, will be named "Tweety 2"). Roxanne plans to debut the new car in April of 2005.

Racing Goals: Roxanne is looking forward to the start of the 2005 racing season, ?Racing continues to be a big part of life for me and my husband Barry?, a renowned driver in his own right. "Nothing compares to the "rush" of that first run down the track and the thrill of competition", according to Roxanne, "and I look forward to taking Tweety 2 into competition ? and of course winning!"

Personal: Roxanne attended Michigan State University, where she completed a B.A. in Advertising. After a few years working full time, she decided to attend graduate school at the University of Michigan, where she obtained an M.A. in Adult Instruction and Performance Improvement and graduated with honors.

This degree helped Roxanne obtain a position where she could combine her love of automobiles with her career. Roxanne currently works as the Training Manager for BorgWarner Automotive?s Livonia, MI plant. BorgWarner is a Tier 1 supplier to automotive OEMS. In this position, she is responsible for all of the training related activities for a workforce of 200 employees.

Roxanne is involved with many professional organizations. In addition to her racing activities she is also actively involved with:
Pi Lambda Theta, a professional organization for honor students in education, The Women?s Automotive Association International (WAAI), The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), and The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD).

Roxanne also works as a mentor for students in the School of Education at U-M, is involved in Adult Literacy programs, and does presentations for the Girl Scouts.

Special Thanks to: Roxanne would like to thank her husband and crew chief, Barry Shepard, as well as: Jim Seavitt and Bob Wheat from Village Ford, Norma Wallis, Tom and Dan Millen from Livernois Motorsports, Tom Cyr and Harvey Baker from Performance Automatic, Vicki Hedrick from Precision Industries, Ricky Best from Vortech Superchargers, Steve Zieber from American Racing Wheels, Jim and Brian Harlow from Harlow Racing Tires & Wheels, Goran Bogdanovich from Creative Performance Racing, Tom Reider from Reider Racing, and Rod Kack, Mark Robinson, and Dan Davis from Ford Racing.