A familiar face will be back competing in NHRA’s Pro Stock Motorcycle class at the Gatornationals this weekend in Gainesville, Fla.
Veteran Chip Ellis will be riding an Erik Buell Racing motorcycle for Matt Smith Racing at Gainesville March 13-15, the season-opening race for the Pro Stock Motorcycles.
“This is a bike I made a lot of runs on,” Ellis said. “I last rode that bike in 2016 for (the late) Junior Pippin. Matt called me (March 1) and asked me I wanted to run the Gators. First, I said let me talk to my wife. We have a shop (in Mocksville, N.C., building stainless steel headers for cars and motorcycles) and we are really, really busy at our shop and I needed to make sure I keep all my customers happy, and I told Matt I would race. I went down there (March 6-7) and helped Matt get it ready to go. So, we’re going to pop the clutch on it (Q1) Friday.”
Ellis last competed in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class in 2018 when he ran a third Harley-Davidson for Vance & Hines in Indianapolis, St. Louis, Charlotte, Las Vegas and Pomona, Calif. He qualified No. 1 in St. Louis and made it to the finals in Charlotte before losing to Matt Smith.
“This is just a one-race deal for now,” Ellis said. “We might run a couple other races, but right now it is just Gainesville and we will see where it goes from here. For me personally, I would like to run 3,4, maybe 5 races a year, but I definitely don’t want to run the whole season.”
Ellis has competed in 143 career PSM national events. He has seven wins and seven runner-up finishes. He has a 147-133 career elimination-round record.
“I think what I’m most excited about is just to get to go out there and see everybody,” Ellis said. “I’m just going to have fun. If we run good, that’s just a bonus. We’ve been racing some boats over the last couple of years and I really enjoy that, so I’m just kind of treating this like a boat race. We’re just going to have fun and whatever happens, happens, good, bad or indifferent.”
Ellis drives an outboard boat and his daughter, McKenzie, 18, are teammates in boat racing. Chip drives a Pro Modified boat and McKenzie is scheduled to compete in the 1,400-pound class.
“I own the boat my daughter drives and a fella out of Charleston, S.C., owns the boat I drive,” Ellis said.