Seven-time NHRA Stock Eliminator national event winner Randi Lyn Shipp is almost undercover this weekend at the Menard NHRA Nationals at Heartland Motorsports Park. Shipp, the defending Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Division 3 Stock champion, is behind the wheel of a Super Comp dragster flying the colors of Jim Butner Auto Group and Summit Racing Equipment.
“When I was 16, I started out in Super Comp,” said Shipp, who actually began her drag racing career much earlier than that in NHRA’s Jr. Drag Racing League. “I did that for a couple of years until I realized I really liked cars with doors. I still like to go bracket racing in my dragster sometimes, even though it’s not the car I’m most comfortable in. You have to be a jack-of-all-trades, and I’m trying to broaden my horizons. But I also think that when I bracket raced my dragster before, it made me a better Stocker racer.”
Shipp’s true love is the 1967 Pontiac Firebird that she races in Stock. All seven of her national event wins were earned in her beloved classic Pontiac, and she was the Division 3 representative and reached the JEGS Allstars final round in 2021 wheeling the nationally recognized muscle car. The heart of her showpiece is currently under construction as the engine is being revamped for the U.S. Nationals next month.
The Pontiac has been out of commission since the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk in June, so Shipp has not had the opportunity to compete in the Lucas Oil Series for quite a few weeks.
“I hate everything about not racing Sportsman classes when I’m at the racetrack,” admitted Shipp. “It’s way more enjoyable when you have something to compete in. I probably will race a little bit of Super Comp and Stock when I can get in both – just for fun and to keep me sharp. But this weekend is great because I really like racing here in Topeka. Every Sportsman racer does. It’s kind of off the beaten path, and fans come from miles around. It’s just always a good time.”
Shipp has twice been runner-up at Heartland Motorsports Park, both times in Stock Eliminator, in 2017 and then again last year. This year, she’s gunning for the trophy in the dragster that she and fiancé Bo Butner purchased from Torrence Racing several years ago.
“We have another dragster that Bo runs, and he really wanted this one until he realized it was a lot smaller than the one we had at home,” said Shipp. “He didn’t like the tight squeeze, so I inherited this car. We’ve been asked many times to sell it, but they didn’t spare any expense when they built this. It’s very nice; we’re keeping it.”
While Shipp is racing for the Super Comp trophy, Butner is also competing in a Lucas Oil class as he pilots his Corvette roadster in Super Gas. Butner won Super Gas at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals in 2019 and has claimed a national event trophy in six different categories: Super Stock, Comp, Stock, Super Street, Super Gas, and Pro Stock.
“We’re here racing to have fun and reset. We’ve been working pretty hard since we got back from the Western Swing,” said Butner, referring to his day job at Jim Butner Auto Group, a ‘buy here, pay here’ used vehicle dealership in Clarksville, Ind., just outside of Louisville, Ky.
Butner will launch into Pro Stock qualifying later this evening in his Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage Camaro. The Pro Stocker is a brand-new Rick Jones-built Chevrolet that has yet to venture down any racetrack, and the silver version that he drove for the first half of the season has been parked for the time being.
“Q1 will be the first test with this new JHG Chevy,” continued Butner, who will roll the bright red #JHGDriven car to the starting line just after 6:30pm this evening at Heartland Motorsports Park. “I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes, but I think we’ll be good. I’m excited to be racing in Super Gas here this weekend, too. It gives you more shots at the track and at the tree, and it’s fun. This is a tough class, and probably one of the toughest to win in Sportsman racing, but it’s always fun to go racing.”