NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle
Junior Pippin/PiranaZ Racing team report

event: Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals presented by Napa
when: Sept. 13-15, 2013
where: zMax Dragway, Concord, North Carolina, USA

Pippin’s Weekend Pink but not Rosy

story and photos by Tim Hailey

 

NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Junior Pippin’s return to racing after two years away was a mixed bag. Although Pippin didn’t qualify for the NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway, his effort to raise money for breast cancer research resulted in a lot of pink PiranaZ T-shirt sales—the main goal of Pippin’s efforts these days (You can order the new PiranaZ shirts and help support breast cancer research here). “It’s not exactly what we had in mind,” said Pippin. “Making the field would have certainly been better. But all in all, we’re alright.”

The 60 year-old Pippin—owner of a Conyers, Georgia trucking company and a life-long V-Twin drag racer—sat the last two years out of NHRA competition while supporting his wife Lisa in her battle with breast cancer. With her health on the upswing and feeling like he should be taking a more active role in fighting the disease, Pippin and sponsor Mark Whisnant of PiranaZ took to the track in Charlotte to promote their fundraising effort.

Although a bit crusty and rusty, Pippin and tuner David Bost actually made a pretty good showing. Consider that qualifying 19th would have placed him in the top half of a NASCAR field. But in the ultra-competitive world of NHRA professional drag racing, Pippin finished outside the 16-bike raceday field.

Qualifying

Q1 16th Junior Pippin 7.175 at 181.74 mph
Q2 19th Junior Pippin 7.113 at 184.90 mph
Q3 17th Junior Pippin 7.084 at 185.61 mph
Q4 19th Junior Pippin 7.070 at 186.46 mph

“We got better each pass,” noted Pippin. “We had some battery voltage issues the first two passes that got us behind the 8-ball. And after a little over two year hiatus, I finally got to riding those last two passes. We had those battery issues rounds 1 and 2, but I also simply wasn’t doing my job. And it’s frustratin’ when you know you’re not doin’ your job. But at the tender age of 60, it took me about three whacks at it to get dialed-in. But those last two I hit my shift points good, was on the money, and I just wanna ride it some more now.

“But most importantly, we got a little bit of TV on ESPN2 for the breast cancer deal and that’s what this is all about anyway. I believe Mark may have sold out of T-shirts here at the track, but he’s printing more and everybody that wants one can go to www.piranaz.net and buy ‘em, but he’s gonna have to make some more, that’s obvious. It’s been humbling, overwhelming, and exciting to see all the response that we’ve had. So many people have come by the race trailer looking for the shirts and we’ve sent them down to the PiranaZ trailer. The response has been really good.

“I’m hellbent to see if there’s someway that I can help prevent a family from going through what ours has gone through here in the last two years. That’s worth everything I can throw at it.

“Lisa has to be back at Emory next week, and we’ll see what we’ll do with our racing schedule providing everything comes back good with her—and I’m thinking that it has to, it will. At least we pray for that. She looks real good and I’m thinking everything is good. It’s in the good Lord’s hands so I think that it will be. So if that’s the case then we’re gonna go to St. Louis, then to Maple Grove, and if we can get a head of steam built back up, I don’t plan on going out west but I don’t rule it out. First and foremost, I have to take care of my family.

“I can give what the motorcycle costs toward the cause, but with the help of PiranaZ we can raise a lot more than that. When I called them to do this, they were so excited to get on board. Those are some really good people, and I advise folks not to just buy the breast cancer T-shirt, they have a lot of really cool stuff.

“Next year we’re planning on running a full season, and we’re talking to some people about running as many as three bikes next year. That’s not a probability, but certainly a possibility.

“I don’t know if anybody noticed or not, but in the last round of qualifying—while missing the field—Redell Harris (who uses engines built by Pippin’s race shop) ran a fast back half and ran about a 192 and a half mile an hour. So it’s pretty obvious that if we get the first 330 straightened out, we can run with these guys.

“I’ve already started on a new set of heads that are just about completed and we’re building a motor with the new cam chest. We’re not through yet, the motor program’s not gonna stop. We’re gonna get that pink motorcycle fast and we’re gonna get it qualified. I can’t wait ‘til we get this thing back flying.”

Junior Pippin would like to thank PiranaZ , S&S Cycle , Junior Pippin Trucking and Paul Bost Trucking.

to order the new PiranaZ shirts and help support breast cancer research

EARLIER: Pippin Back in Pink for Charlotte

story by Tim Hailey, photos courtesy of Junior Pippin and PiranaZ

NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Junior Pippin has stepped back from racing the last couple years while supporting his wife Lisa in her battle with breast cancer. But at this weekend’s NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway, Pippin is back and sporting the universal color of breast cancer fundraising—pink.

“I think that bike looks pretty damn good in pink,” said Pippin. He was talking from the cab of his similarly painted dump truck, one of a fleet of 36 the Conyers, Georgia native owns and operates. “Mark Whisnant of PiranaZ has come up with a design here that is really gonna get some attention, I’m tellin’ you. He’s also made some new black and pink PiranaZ shirts, and proceeds from the pink shirts sales will be donated to find a cure for this hideous disease.”

“PiranaZ is honored to be a part of this project with Junior and Lisa,” said Whisnant. “When Junior contacted us about a return to the NHRA PSM class, we couldn't wait to be a part it. Junior is passionate about bringing awareness of this horrible disease that affects so many of our family members and people within the racing community. PiranaZ jumped at the chance to help Junior with this effort. Hopefully together we can spark awareness and raise some money to help this cause.”



You can order the new PiranaZ shirts and help support breast cancer research here

Although Pippin’s been out of action, his S&S powered Buell has seen some recent testing, with Junior riding and ADRL champ Eric McKinney also in the seat. “That boy’s a helluva rider,” 60 year-old Pippin said about McKinney. “But hey, I tell you, this old boy’s ready too. I'm down to riding weight and passed the physical. Been doing a lot of working out and changing my diet. But that first time I threw the clutch on that thing? I’m hear to tell you it got my attention NOW!”

And Pippin hopes to get the attention of the NHRA’s philanthropic fans with his Buell’s eye-catching wrap and the PiranaZ shirts they can buy to support breast cancer research. But just because he hasn’t been racing doesn’t mean he hasn’t been watching, and he knows that Pro Stock Motorcycle is more competitive in 2013 than ever.

“Now there is some integrity back in the class and it’s tougher to make the field than ever,” said Pippin. “I don’t know exactly how well we’ll do, but I've got two motors ready to go right now and this old man’s ready to squeeze everything we can out of them. I’ve got David Bost tuning. His family has been in the trucking business ten years longer than mine— Paul Bost Trucking in Rockwell, North Carolina—and he’s kind enough to take time away from his business to support this cause.



“I tell you I've watched Lisa go through hell this last year and a half. I've seen what these women go through and when you walk the walk, it's terrifying. Now it’s time for me to do what I can do with what I have to work with to do something about it. We’re gonna try to run the whole season next year if we can get some help. We gotta get this show back on the road. At my age, I don't know how many more chances I'll have to do this, but by golly here we go!”

Junior Pippin would like to thank PiranaZ , S&S Cycle , Junior Pippin Trucking and Paul Bost Trucking.

to order the new PiranaZ shirts and help support breast cancer research


contact Junior Pippin