Lynn Ellison has come a long way from rural Kentucky – figuratively. 

He still lives in Central City, a small town with a population of about 6,000 where his father, Raymond, still cuts hair at his barbershop. It was at the barbershop, where he grew up shining shoes for clients, that Ellison decided he wanted to go racing.

“I would read the racing magazines at the shop and see all the cool cars and venues they were racing at and thought, ‘I want to do that,’ ” said Ellison. “My dad had an old bracket car that I began racing and began to do well with.”

Ellison quickly recognized that if he wanted to be a racer and do something different than what was immediately available in Central City that he needed to take action and follow a different path.

“There are a lot of coal mines around here, and I didn’t want to be a coal miner,” said Ellison. “I realized that to race I needed money, so I needed to go to college, which is something not many people around here did. I went to Western Kentucky University and earned a degree in business, and now I operate liquor stores in western Kentucky called the The Liquor STOP that make it possible for me to race.”

Not long after graduating from college Ellison did something he said he’s most proud of: marrying his wife Shannon. In June the couple will celebrate the 25th year of a union that has included Shannon serving as his crew chief and leading him to the 2017 NHRA Top Dragster National Championship.



“If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be racing, especially at this level,” said Ellison. “She’s very competitive, knows a lot about racing, and really loves doing it. I’m very lucky and very blessed to have a family that races with me.”

Included in the family is daughter Madison, who races a similar Top Dragster and a Super Comp entry owned by Brian Horton. Now that Ellison has a national championship on his resume, he would like to help Madison succeed.

“She’s been doing very well. She finished ninth in Division 3 last year, and I really think that this year she’s going to be up there again,” said Ellison. “She’s very competitive. I think she has an excellent shot to be a really good racer at whatever level she chooses to. She has the ability to handle a fast race car, speak publicly, and work social media and she’s beautiful. She has what it takes to succeed in drag racing if that’s the path she chooses to take.”

Ellison wouldn’t mind racing Super Stock again – “I really love that class,” he said – but for now he’s ready to defend his title and hopefully double up.

“I’ve had enough time off, and I’m ready to go and put up another good season,” he said. “We’re either going to start our season at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte or the NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta. Last year took a lot out of us, but as the new season has gotten closer, the competitive fires have started to burn, and I’m ready to chase a title again this year.”

Ellison will again rely on the support of Shannon, Madison, Horton, The Liquor STOP, Brewco, and Sawmill Equipment during his quest to successfully defend his championship.

“Winning the championship last year was unbelievable. I always hoped and wished I could win it, and for all of it to come together it's almost surreal,” said Ellison. “It took a month for it to really sink in, even after going to California to attend the championship banquet. When we get the No. 1 on the scoop, that’s when it will really sink in.”