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By Jesse Utz 

Lake Roosevelt Hall of Fame: Nick and Shawn Ford

Jess Shut Up


Nick Ford and Shawn Ford, two country brothers from Grand Coulee, and Lake Roosevelt graduates, were gear heads who felt more comfortable under the hood of an old car in Mr. Hood’s auto shop class than they did anywhere else. Back then, their last name was Adams. Owen and Betty Adams raised their kids to be hard working and live life with a sense of humor. Today, not much has changed except the type of cars they work on. Now they are professional Indy cars.

Nick and Shawn are on separate teams. Shawn, the older brother, works for Rahal Racing and finished second this year in the championship. Most years, that would be hard to swallow, but this year second does not hurt the Ford families that hard because Nick’s team, Chip Ganassi Racing, took the championship. First and second in points. Not bad for a couple of LR Raiders.

You might think that getting losing to your younger brother on such a large scale might put a damper on family planning, but not here.

“I am so proud of Nick and his accomplishments,” Shawn said of his brother. “A lot of hard work and personal sacrifices are made to be a part of these race teams; racing season can be a long grind and when you win the championship, it is the ultimate satisfaction.”

He went on to say this: “It’s been awesome to witness Nick mature as a mechanic, and that was all made possible by having great mentors like Steve Hood and our dad, Owen Adams.”

It is obvious that Mr. Hood means a lot to these two boys. A few years ago the Ford brothers invited Steve to come back to Indianapolis for the Indy 500. He got to see the inner-working details of an Indy racing team and spent a lot of time in the pits with the two men and, of course, got to see the race. While I was talking to him about Shawn and Nick, you could tell by the look on his face that he was very, very proud of these two former students and that they had a permanent place in his heart.

They have a permanent place as Raiders, too. Shawn graduated in 1995 and Nick in ’98. They have gone on to climb a ladder of success or, in this case, built an engine to carry them there. They have reached the pinnacle of racing as mechanics/pit crewmen and have done it with class and honor. Have there been road bumps? Yes. Of course. A big one happened not long ago when Nick was very seriously burned.

He was in the hospital, recovering for a long time, and everyone involved thought his career was probably over. But remember, Nick is a fighter and, as you can see by his winning a championship, he made a full recovery.

“I am humbled by this,” Nick said. “I am not sure I am deserving to be in the Raider Hall of Fame, but I will say this: I was very influenced by LRHS, mostly by Steve Hood. He was very influential in my and Shawn’s life. He is a big reason I am where I am today.”

You see, these boys found something they loved, cars. And they found a mentor with a common interest. That mentor just happened to be an old gear head himself. Oh, and he was a teacher at LR.

From that point, the grease and oil was soaked into their bloodstream and their hearts. They continued to improve themselves and discover that they really did have talent. Soon, they found themselves in Indianapolis, where the heart of racing beats. From the sagebrush and dust of Grand Coulee to Lake Roosevelt to an Indy championship racing team.

Congratulations to the Ford brothers. We are so proud of you here in Raider Nation. Maybe next year Shawn can win first and his little brother will let him have second. Either way, it will be a heck of a race. GO RAIDERS!

Writer’s Note: This is the unofficial Lake Roosevelt Hall of Fame. In no way does this column represent the Grand Coulee Dam School District, although I would love to be a part of creating such a historic document and presenting inductees with actual awards to be presented in a ceremony. I have a short list of future inductees and am excited to put more Raiders in my unofficial Hall of Fame.

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