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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Through 32 seasons competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, Jack Sellers never visited Victory Lane. In fact, he never had a top-five finish. But that didn’t deter him from having fun and being a big part of the West Coast series.
Sellers – who finished 14th in his last series start at his home track of All American Speedway on Oct. 15 – passed away at his Sacramento, California ranch over the weekend at the age of 72.
A familiar sight in the K&N West garage with his trademark cowboy hat, Sellers was best known to his close friends for his life-long passion for hunting. He developed a similar enthusiasm for stock car racing, however. Maybe it was because he got a late start in racing, at the age of 40; but he never gave it up. Many of his competitors decided to pursue other interests as the years went along. Not Sellers. It seemed like he was just having too much fun.
He talked of his longevity in the series during an interview in 2011.
“I never would have dreamed that I would go this far,” Sellers said with his familiar chuckle. “When you’ve been doing it so long, it’s not something that you can just quit.”
In his 32 seasons in the series, he had become a friend to many in the racing community. He would take the time to get to know others and sincerely cared about those friendships. Not one to ever get in a hurry, he enjoyed spending time talking with others in the garage – even if it meant being late to a drivers meeting.
Those who got to know Sellers were also familiar with his sense of humor. He enjoyed a good laugh and liked to share that with those around him. He would often have a sly grin and twinkle in his eyes as he would pause to wait for someone to pick up on a bit of his humor.
The series was known as the NASCAR Winston West Grand National Division when Sellers made his debut at Sonoma, California on April 28, 1985. He entered more than 300 events and is listed as competing in a record 282 series races. There were good times, with 32 top-10 finishes. And, of course, there were the bad times – failing to finish a race due to a blown engine or an accident. But Sellers didn’t quit.
In more than three decades on the circuit, he had a career-best seventh-place finish on five occasions, with the most recent at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington in August of 2013.
Sellers wasn’t in the racing just for himself, however. He would assist anyone in need of help.
Sellers was known through much of his career for operating a multi-car team. That expanded race team stemmed from a need to bolster the car count at some series events through the years. With crew members, who in addition to turning a wrench were talented behind the wheel, Sellers didn’t hesitate to start fielding backup cars for them and others to drive. He took pride in his role and for helping to keep the series alive during those lean years.
Sellers, whose family once owned the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Sacramento, continued to help others in recent years as he began to look at cutting back on his racing. He entered multiple cars in events as he provided an opportunity for several young northern California drivers to compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
His contributions to the series were recognized in 2005, when Sellers was awarded the Sportsmanship Award at the year-end awards banquet.
Although he was having fun, Sellers was serious about his racing. He finished in the top 10 of the championship standings in seven of eight seasons between 1987 and 1994, with his best year being 1993 when he was fifth in points. In other years, Sellers opted not to compete in all the races. His last full season of competition was 2014, in which he finished ninth in the championship standings.
In addition to his passion for hunting and racing, Sellers also had a love for animals. For many years he would donate his winnings from a race to an animal rescue organization.