She’s an All-American girl with an American as Apple Pie personality! Her love for muscle cars and drag racing has gotten her to where she is now. This is Randi Lyn Shipp.
Randi Lyn Shipp has been racing for 26 years. She started in junior dragsters when she was 8 years old. She grew up racing at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, IN. Her dad was the typical neighborhood car guy but was friends with the Glidden Family. That’s how the Shipp family got started in racing.
Shipp races a 1967 Pontiac Firebird in Stock Eliminator on the NHRA tour. She is lucky enough to travel to every track on the tour with fiancé Bo Butner. Along with her Firebird, she has recently gotten behind the wheel of Bo’s Super Gas Roadster and forgot how much she loved the thrill of it.
DragChamp tracked down Randi Lyn from her chaotic schedule to learn more about her racing career.
Learn more about her in the following Q&A.
DragChamp Racer Spotlight with Randi Lyn Shipp
How long have you been racing?
I started racing in a junior dragster when I was 8 years old. Which was 26 years ago.
How did you get introduced to the sport?
I was introduced to the sport by my dad who was your typical neighborhood car guy in Whiteland, Indiana. He played basketball with Billy Glidden (Bob Glidden’s son) and went to some drag races with them. After attending the Gator Nationals with the Glidden’s in 1993 he purchased me a junior dragster.
Which class or classes do you compete in? Where do you normally race? Provide a little history of your career.
Once I turned 16, I tried out every class from Super Street to Super Comp. I loved racing every class, but Stock Eliminator has always felt like it is where I am supposed to be. I love the fact that I have a real car that has real American horsepower. There is something very nostalgic about Stock Eliminator and it is what real racing is to me.
With that being said I also loved when I got the chance to race Bo’s Super Gas roadster last year. It was an incredible feeling I didn’t realize I missed. Rolling up on someone, ripping the throttle, and seeing your win light come on is a huge adrenaline rush! That car is currently being rewired, painted, and updated but I look forward to getting to race it more often in the 2020 season.
Tell us about your current race car. How long have you owned it, chassis builder, engine, drivetrain, how fast does it run, etc.
The car I am best known for is my classic white 1967 Pontiac Firebird. I was not completely sold on it when Bo wanted to purchase it from the DeFrank family. As far as classic muscle cars go, I thought the only Pontiac’s I liked were GTO’s. To me the Firebird was just a wannabe Camaro.
When I got some say in colors and parts through the refurbishment of the car, I soon changed my tone. Somewhere between that process and winning my first national event in Phoenix 2011 that car became part of me. Today I wouldn’t trade my car for any other…and trust me Bo tries to trade me out of it often!
Please list your major racing accomplishments.
I have seven National Event Wins and each one of them are huge accomplishments to me. I can still remember Leo Taugher announcing me on stage at my first win. He said “There is nothing like the smile of a first time National Event winner” right before he called me on stage. Today when I think about that moment it still makes me smile like I am right back in that place! My first win will always be my sweetest and my greatest accomplishment.
What’s on your bucket list, future goals, what do you hope to achieve?
I don’t necessarily have a bucket list I feel like I get to like a racing life most can only dream about. As a young junior dragster racer, I would have said “win in Top Fuel” or something crazy like that…but today I feel like I have accomplished more than my wildest dreams would have been. Of course, I would love to become a better driver and have the skills to put me in a position to win the world in a sportsman class someday.
However, I have a lot of work to do on my focus before I feel like I would have a shot at that. Things are pretty chaotic for me at the races. It seems like no matter how hard I try to block everything out when I get inside the car sometimes it’s just still there.
Who has made the biggest impact on your racing success?
I owe all of the successes in my racing career to the people around me. My dad gave me the general car and racing knowledge, Mark Cook taught me how to race and had a lot of influence on my driving style, and when I started racing with Bo, he took everything to the next level.
With Darrel Herron as our ringleader I learned to make the car as perfect as we could to be successful. We do everything we can to make the car good on race day. The rest is just up to the me!
Tell us what you do for a living? (Your facebook says Bo’s Shenanigan Handler… Explain that!)
Taking care of Bo and his shenanigans is a full-time job most days. He always has something for me to drop off, register, get insurance on, etc… but mainly I handle the t-shirt trailer and manage our race team. I book the flights, load the snacks, and make sure everything is ready to go when the time comes.
Who do you hate to see in the other lane, and why?
I hate seeing Bo Butner in the lane beside me! We always have awesome races and then usually his win light still comes on! He is the only person I would rather not have to race!
What’s the hardest part of drag racing?
The hardest part of drag racing for me is staying focused through all the chaos!
What’s your most embarrassing moment in a race car?
I’m always very embarrassed when the night falls and my driving falls apart. I block the tree out during the day and when night comes, I take down the blinders and it definitely shows my weakness. I’ve been trying to better myself at this, but it is definitely embarrassing when I’m awful at the tree at nighttime.
Do you love to win or hate to lose?
I’m a “love to win” kind of person. As much as I get to race the losing just comes with the territory. Even the most winning drivers have to lose a lot at our sport. It is something that I have learned to deal with. None of us like it but I do believe it makes the wins that much sweeter.
Which are you better at the starting line or the finish line?
I don’t think I’m better at one end of the track or the other. I know there are days I’m on and days that I’m off. When I’m on it seems like things just flow and I’m able to drive both ends well.
What motivates you to continue racing?
I’m motivated by the thrill of seeing that win light come on in my lane!
Name one thing most people don’t know about you?
I am a product of working with Darrel Herron for a lot of years and sometimes I can act like him. I can be mean when I have to, and I don’t take no crap. My sister always says that people think she is the mean one because of her facial expressions but I am actually the mean sister!
Favorite vacation spot?
Disney is my favorite vacation…isn’t it everyone’s?! My favorite rides are The Tower of Terror and The Rockin’ Rollercoaster!!
What all goes into Halloween every year? We know you handle it all!
Halloween is a huge spectacle for me and my project manager Austin Williams. We typically start talking about what we’re going to be the following year while were still in costumes at Vegas. We plan everything from who will be the best at each character to what the car should look like.
I don’t typically use any costumes that you can order from a store online. I either make everything personally or piece it all together. Some things I get made specifically for the parts. And we envision things all season long until the big day comes and it all usually falls together just right!
What’s your favorite track on the NHRA tour?
Phoenix hold a special place in my heart because I have won there twice and had my first win there. I also love going to Vegas even though my mind is usually on gambling more than racing. I have a hard time turning on win lights there. And I love Norwalk because of the experience the Bader’s provide to racers and fans…and of course Indy because it’s the big Go…and home for me.
Who would you like to thank, who helps you the most?
I am thankful for Tommy and all the guys at Mickey Thompson for their support. Along with my family and Bo, Darrel Herron, Greg Esarey, Dylan Mudd, JT Trammell, Butch Peterson, and Davey Allison.
About the author: Megan Strassweg is a 22 year old Super Comp racer from Louisville, Kentucky. She races a 2015 American Dragster sponsored by Coolshirt Systems. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May of 2020 with a degree in Photojournalism and a minor in Entrepreneurship. Megan works at Jim Butner Auto in the Finance Department. Growing up at the racetrack, drag racing is all she has known and never plans to give up on it.