CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Oct. 7, 2009) -
Richard R. Shafer, of Stockbridge, Ga., was pronounced dead at Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga Saturday, Oct. 3 after being airlifted there from Jackson County, Ala., where he was involved in a single-car incident at the Crow Mountain Hill Climb, sanctioned by Sports Car Club of America's Tennessee Valley Region. He was 66.
Witnesses reported that Shafer's modified Chevrolet Camaro left the road at the third corner of the course that was approximately two miles in length. He was initially conscious at the scene and transported via helicopter. He later succumbed to his injuries.
Hill Climbs are one of the oldest forms of motorsports competition in the United States, and are set up on challenging pieces of road closed to public traffic. The course is marked with a start and a finish, with drivers trying to complete the course in the lowest possible time. Shafer was making his second run at the time of the incident.
Known as "Mr. Cool Shirt," Shafer was the founder and CEO of Cool Shirt, a company that developed a cooling vest initially for surgeons in the operating room. The company later expanded its line of vests and shirts to cater to racecar drivers, football players, fire/emergency services/hazmat, military and industrial workers.
"Rich Shafer was dedicated to making racers better and safer and his passing is a loss for the industry," SCCA President and CEO Jeff Dahnert said. "Our thoughts are with his family and friends."
Shafer is survived by his wife, Eileen and their two children.
Services will be held Sunday, Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. at the Christ Our Hope Lutheran Church, 2165 Highway 138 SW, Riverdale, GA. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, a donation be made to that church in Shafer's name. The church has a web site at www.christourhope.org.