One of the friendliest faces at the dragstrip is also one of the fiercest competitors. Stock Eliminator standout Randi Lyn Shipp has been part of drag racing since she was a kid, watching her dad, uncles and cousins all compete. Shipp got her own start in a Jr. Dragster and participated in the youth series until she was old enough to graduate to proper Sportsman competition, where she made quite a name for herself – most notably behind the wheel of her clean-as-a-whistle ’67 Pontiac Firebird.
[Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in DI #155, the Women of Power Issue, in April of 2020.]
Shipp has seven Stock Eliminator national event trophies in 11 final rounds, with victories earned in Phoenix (2011 and 2016), Norwalk (2013), Brainerd (2015) and Epping (2018), as well as Gainesville and Chicago (both in 2019). She shies away from waving a “women who have made history” flag, but Shipp happens to be the one of the most winning female NHRA Sportsman competitors of all time.
“I’ve never aspired to be the most winning female or anything like that – I just want to be good and be taken seriously as a racer,” says Shipp. “I’ve always just been one of the guys.”
It seems unfathomable that such success would not have yet come with a world championship, but the Floyds Knobs, Indiana, resident isn’t bothered. She happily extends her attention beyond her own racing program and limits most of her racing to national events.
“I would consider my biggest accomplishment in drag racing helping Bo win his first Pro Stock championship,” says Shipp. “Four of us had been racing together for 11 years, through Comp and Pro Stock, and I feel like we really won that as a team. That win tops them all, even my own.”
Shipp is an integral part of fiancé Bo Butner’s race team, which extends across multiple categories and has twice included world championship titles (2006 Comp and 2017 Pro Stock).
“I would call myself the shenanigan handler,” laughs Shipp, who enthusiastically accepts the role of team manager. At the track, she plans and prepares meals and attends to anything Butner and the team need, right down to folding parachutes or filling out tech cards, between racing her Stocker.
She’s also an idea machine, operating she and Butner’s Nitro Fish merchandise trailer and working with top-notch artists to produce some of the most unique apparel on the midway.
At the fall race in Las Vegas, her creativity garners national attention as the team debuts a special theme, right down to a fully wrapped car and team members in full character, for Halloween weekend. Shipp has conceptualized and brought to life extremely detailed salutes to Talladega Nights, Smokey and the Bandit, and Dukes of Hazzard.
Away from the track, she handles all of the paperwork, makes sure bills are paid, books travel for everyone, and plans between-race outings that contribute to a fun atmosphere for the group.
“I think my favorite part is taking care of everyone,” she says. “We all have a role, and I appreciate that I’m part of everything without getting in there and tearing down an engine. As far as my own goals, I really enjoy helping people. I would like to do something someday that makes a difference – I think that’s what we’re all here for.”