Randi Lyn Shipp Returns to Stock at NHRA Houston
The Stock Eliminator field has been missing a familiar face at national events so far in 2022, but this weekend at the NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park, a wrong was righted as reigning North Central Division champion Randi Lyn Shipp was back on track. Shipp, driving her clean and familiar 1967 Pontiac Firebird, was fast and focused to reach the third round of eliminations in her return.
Shipp had planned to race at the NHRA Gatornationals in March, but the waterlogged event necessitated a delay in her season debut. Just ahead of what has been called the final national event to be held at Houston Raceway, the Indiana-native got to take her trusty Firebird out for a spin for the first time in five months.
"I felt very good after testing at Ohio Valley Dragway, but before that, I felt horrible," seven-time national event winner Shipp admitted. "I was very nervous, and I didn't know how things would go – but a couple rounds in and it was like riding a bike."
Shipp managed the conditions at Houston well, maneuvering through air weighed down with water grains and gathered data and confidence. After a 10.728-second pass followed by a 10.702 in qualifying, Shipp dialed a 10.73 for round one, where she was meant to meet Kyle Ratcliff but came up with a single when he broke and was a no-show.
Shipp advanced to the second round on a 10.708 for a rendezvous with Will Carrell, who defeated her fiancé, Bo Butner, by just .006-second in the opening act. This time around, Shipp had the upper hand as she clocked a .005-second reaction time to Carrell's too-quick .029.
In round three, Shipp ran closer to her dial-in with a 10.755 on a 10.73 target, but John Brimer's 8.839 on an 8.75 got the win light as it was paired with a .009 reaction time.
"It feels good to be back in my car," said Shipp. "I haven't been out of my car for that long since before Bo started racing Pro Stock in 2015. I was more ready than I thought I was to be back out here racing. In qualifying, I hit the tree on both runs and everything was smooth and perfect. We're still breaking in a new motor, but for the most part, everything was just like it should have been."
Now that Shipp and her Pontiac have been reunited, the second-generation racer plans to lean heavily into the season. She will race Stock at nearly every event on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series schedule that includes Pro Stock, Butner's primary category in which he races the Johnson's Horsepowered Garage Chevrolet Camaro.
She may also take a turn or two in Super Stock behind the wheel of the fast Ford Cobra Jet Mustang in which Butner won four Factory Stock Showdown exhibition races. The Cobra Jet has been refreshed with a new combination by engine builder Kelly Thacker."I'm excited. This weekend was great, and I think we're going to have a lot of fun this year. Heck, maybe we'll even hurt some feelings," said Shipp. "I'm just happy to be back racing."