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Shawn ‘Murder Nova’ Ellington Scores First-Ever ‘No Prep Kings’ Win at Virginia Motorsports Park, Scott Taylor Secures Second Chance Bracket Victory

Saturday’s No Prep Kings event at Virginia Motorsports Park once again made history, as Shawn Ellington – better known as Murder Nova – finally secured his first-ever Invitational win. It was a long overdue victory for one of the original Street Outlaws cast members, with the NPK series now in its seventh season.    

The $30,000 win was an emotional one for Ellington, who admitted afterward that his feelings got the best of him once he got out of the car and saw his wife, Erin. 

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“I told everybody that 100% whenever I got my first win I would cry, and we did it at the other end,” said Ellington in his post-race interview. “Erin came up to me, she’s bawling, and it just happened. It is what it is.”

Ellington’s weekend began with some luck on Friday night, as his first-round opponent, Joe “Dominator” Woods, was unable to make the call. Ellington used the bye run to advance into the winner’s bracket for Saturday’s main event.

Victories over Kallee Mills and “Daddy Dave” Comstock set up an epic semifinal matchup between Ellington and the NPK season six Individual points champion Kye Kelley. Kelley had been absolutely dominant in Virginia, winning the past three Invitational events at the track. That streak came to an end as Ellington won a great side-by-side race.

In the finals, Ellington defeated Justin Swanstrom, who got close to the wall about mid-track and had to lift. Ellington, meanwhile, laid down another blistering pass, a common theme for him throughout the weekend.

“We definitely came into this season prepared,” Ellington said. “The car’s been on rails and it’s working really good right now.”

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After only competing in a total of two events during the first three seasons of NPK, Ellington joined the show full-time in season four. But success was hard to find in those first couple of years. However, with an improved focus heading into season six and the tuning trio of Steve Petty, Brandon Stroud, and Daniel Parker, Murder Nova saw a vast improvement in performance – which has carried over into this season. According to “Stat Guy” Chris LeCloux, going back to the beginning of last year, Ellington’s .645 winning percentage is fourth best in that time span, trailing only Ryan Martin (.746), Kye Kelley (.675), and Nate Sayler (.647). 

“We have worked hard the last two seasons,” said Ellington. “We did get our teeth kicked in [in previous seasons] and at some point you get tired of banging your head against the wall. We said last season we’re going to give it everything that we have, and it paid off even though the wins didn’t come. But hopefully they start coming now.”   

Scott Taylor Wins Second Chance Bracket

Another driver searching for that elusive first NPK Invitational win had to settle for a $10,000 prize on Saturday, as fan-favorite Scott Taylor defeated Paige Coughlin in the finals of the Second Chance bracket. 

“We started off the weekend a little rough in the first round when we took an L from Ryan Martin,” Taylor posted on social media. “But we once again regrouped…in the loser’s bracket and thankfully picked up a win in the finals. Happy to race with this awesome group of guys and gals. I’m still digging for that big W.”

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No Prep Kings now heads to Empire Dragway in Leicester, New York, on May 3-4 for its third race of the season. 

This story was originally published on April 30, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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