Shawn Monahan: An Uncut, Uncensored, Unapologetic Look Back On Two Decades Of Showmanship

Over his 25 years in competition on the short tracks of southern New England Shawn Monahan has built a reputation that runs the gamut of opinion. Winner, champion, showman, clown, hot head. Ask 10 people and you’ll probably get 10 different opinions of Monahan. 

This week Monahan went uncut and uncensored on Unmuffled talking about all facets of his racing career – from being a fan, to a competitor to a track manager – and held nothing back over 90 minutes in talking about the many personalities he’s encountered along that journey. 

Some Highlight moments from Monahan’s Storytellers Edition on Unmuffled

On his early days as a fan at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl: 

“I grew up watching the heavy battles with Al Rondeau, Phil Rondeau, Jay Stuart, CJ Frye, all those guys. I can tell you, I could care less about the SK Modifieds when I was a youngster. I wanted to see what looked like my Matchbox cars at home and I would reenact all of those races. After Saturday night my Sunday was full of reenactment.” 

On growing up at the track around many who would become his competitors: 

“The little Rocco boys, they were a few years under me, the cutest little twins walking around in their satin jackets with the 13 embroidered on the back.” 

On the battles when he did get to an SK Modified: 

“I went clip for clip with Bert Marvin. … very rarely did I take people out with absolute full intention. He’s one of the few that I junked on purpose.” 

“Bo Gunning, I would go at it with. I remember he’d say: ‘Listen kid, you gotta slow down to go fast, you’re tearing up a lot of equipment.’” 

On his first SK Modified victory in 2004 at the Speedbowl: 

“I basically had made it clear to the competitors that if you’re in the points run you ought to just be careful when you’re around me because I’m going for a win. There weren’t that many competitors with their screws loose in the top division like that.” 

On his personality: 

“One thing that I really like about myself is that I’m a really forgiving person. My wife says I’m way too forgiving.” 

On spending two years as the general manager of the Speedbowl in 2015 and 2016: 

“I had a blast. … All the stuff that makes a difference to a racer that I knew would make a difference, I did that stuff. Still to this day, I think that I have a lot of creative juices that flow, and who knows one day if the opportunity ever comes up, I would see myself as a better promoter than a [general] manager because I don’t want to deal with the food and all that other jazz and the office BS, I like to figure out how to put butts on benches and that’s a tough thing to do these days.” 

On racing against his brother Diego Monahan for years:

“I’ll tell you that I’ll drive circles around Diego any day of the week. But we’ll argue that until the day is done. When him and I are on the race track, we’re not friends at all. … It’s like one of them deals, I can say what I want about my brother, and he can aggravate me as much as I want to, but don’t talk about him because he’s my brother.” 

On Keith Rocco: 

“He’s verbally handicapped in a way where he doesn’t know how to hold on to himself in a public setting. That’s why he does some outlandish stuff. But my god can somebody feel it in their ass on what they need to make an adjustment and know how to drive a race car.” 

On Rob Janovic Jr.: 

“Rob Blockovic. I always call him that. … Been a long time friend of mine and always will be. Knows how to talk. Boy he can talk better than me and longer than I do.” 

On short track racing official Scott Tapley:  

“All time best. … What I’ve grown to know about Scott is that he’ll call it the way he sees it, he may not get it right, but it’s the way he really believes that he sees it and he’ll call it that way. He demands great respect from the competition, people are much more respectable to each other on the race track when he’s in position to call the shots. And I think most of the time he gets it right. He’s by far one of the best in the game that I’ve ever come across.”

On Larry Barnett: 

“If he wanted to hug me today, because of COVID-19 I’d have to refuse. But if it weren’t around and we weren’t dealing with this epidemic I would actually have lunch with him. He’s always one of the nicest guys, but yet he talks so much smack about me behind my back that everything that I say about him or say to him, I do in a matter to aggravate him because he loves to be aggravating and he loves to talk about me. … The only thing that has affected him in our relationship to this day is jealousy and I can’t be mad at him for that.” 

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Episode 74 of Unmuffled is presented by our Patreon marketing partners from New England Racing Fuel, RH2Way Radios, Swanson Buick/GMCLifeCare Family Chiropractic, SAFCO Foam, Mid-State Site Development, TFR Distribution, Draco Racing Springs, Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair, Tri-Track Open Modified Series, Compressed Air USA, Hoosier Tire EastMidState Compressor, Mark’s Northeast Motorsports Expo, Pro-Tech 8 Gloves, Independent Wheel, PSR Products, Casagrande Builders, Falmouth Ready Mix, Wheelers Auto, Rent A Race Car New England, Four Seasons By The Lake, Mark’s Parts, Mark’s Classic Cruise, Sign Pro, North End Auto PartsMagna Steel Sales, Jennerstown Speedway, New Hampshire Motor SpeedwayRiverhead Raceway, Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway.

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  1. I’d say one thing Monahan doesn’t posses is self awareness. Rocco “verbally handicapped”. “Doesn’t know how to hold onto himself in a public setting”. You sound like you were describing yourself.

  2. Doug, this is one time I will absolutely agree with you!

  3. Doug hit the nail on the head with that comment. My thoughts exactly!

  4. Would love to see you give us a couple of freebies during the quarantine, it might just drum up some new customers!

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