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Shannon 'Iceman' Jenkins Earns IHRA Hall of Fame Status

Friday, 29 July 2022

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Shannon Jenkins was known by the well-earned nickname, “The Iceman,” by being cool under pressure.

The cool customer is the latest inductee into the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) Hall of Fame as many consider Jenkins the best combination of driver and tuner in Pro Mod history. 

Jenkins racked up 19 wins and 12 final-round appearances in IHRA competition and captured driving championships in 1997, 1999 and 2002. He was champion crew chief for Tommy Mauney in 1995 and Mike Castellana in 2005, earning the IHRA Crew Chief of the Year award both seasons.

While Jenkins went on with more success in both NHRA and ADRL competition, but racing a Pro Mod in IHRA ranks as his personal favorite.

“IHRA was just a fun place to race,” Jenkins said. “The competition, the camaraderie, the organization was just where I couldn’t wait to get there.”

shannon jenkins cp

- Photo Courtesy of Competition Plus

From Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Jenkins started out as a bracket racer when he went to a $10,000 race in Huntsville to watch the Quick 8 cars. He tells how he and partner Norman Estes started a conversation at 4 o’clock in the morning.

Jenkins recalled, “Norman said, ‘We need to get one of those.’ That’s where it began as simple as going down the road, having coffee, talking and trying to stay awake to get home.”

It was a decision that kept many of his rivals awake in the coming years. Often linked to Scotty Cannon, Jenkins finished second to him in the 1996 IHRA point standings. He was in the hunt the rest of the 1990s, going 1-2 with Mauney in 1997, third behind Cannon and Ed Hoover in 1998 and champion again in 1999.

“Scotty was a very tough competitor. His team worked hard like we did,” Jenkins said. “We were always trying to get better and it made each other better. Sometimes, he would win. Sometimes, we would win. It was just fierce competition with that will to win that event.

“There were a lot of great racers like Ed Hoover, Tommy Mauney and the list goes on and on.”

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- Photo Courtesy of David McGee

Jenkins enjoyed a long working partnership with fellow IHRA Hall of Famer Gene Fulton, both a noted racer and engine builder

“Gene and I had a lot of good times and we became good friends,” Jenkins said. “I’ve stayed at Gene’s home numerous times. He’s went out of his way a lot of times to help us on our way back from a race. We worked really well together as well as the other engine guys I’ve worked with.”

One of Jenkins’ best known cars was the 1941 Willys nicknamed, “Barney.”

“That was one of the best race cars all through the years,” he said. “I ended up crew chiefing Tommy Mauney to the championship in 1995. The Parsons brothers purchased that car and I drove it and tuned it for them. That was one really good race car.”

shannon jenkins cp 02

- Photo Courtesy of Competition Plus

Perhaps Jenkins’ greatest season as driver was 2002. That’s the year he won both IHRA and NHRA championships in the same year.

“Sometimes you have a year where it seems you can do no wrong,” Jenkins said. “We worked really hard on our stuff. It was like 24/7. That’s just the way I did things and we won 11 events that year.”

Teaming up with Castellana on the Western Beef Racing Team, they formed a partnership with Al-Anabi Racing. It allowed Jenkins to race all over the world, winning multiple races in the Middle East.

“We were always treated well and it turned into a good partnership for many years,” he recalled. “The cities there are beautiful.”

Eventually Jenkins stopped competing as a driver and sold his race shop. He still owns Speedtech, a leading Nitrous company in the industry. He explained they were always working on Nitrous and engine combinations to make better motors. 


Although he hasn’t raced as a driver since 2017, he has tested cars for numerous teams. He stays extremely busy these days. During one recent week, he tested at Atmore, Alabama, went to Montgomery and then to Darlington, South Carolina before he headed back to Alabama to get a 4.40 and a 4.70 car dialed-in. He admitted there’s still a desire to race again if the right people and conditions came along.

“I had a heck of a career. I’m not saying I’m done by any means,” Jenkins said. “We had a lot of great years racing with multiple people. There was Norman Estes in the beginning, with the Parsons brothers all through the 90s and of course with Mike Castellana up until a couple of years ago.”

Last modified on Friday, 29 July 2022

 

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