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M ark Pickens may have only five races under his
belt as a Top Fuel team owner, but he is no
stranger to the competitive worlds of racing and
business. The native Memphian purchased the assets
of Evan Knoll’s team to found MPE Motorsports
with driver Clay Millican, and he is eager to get his
team in the winner’s circle.
Big Block Chev “I love the sport. I love the competition, and I’m
Dragon Claw not getting any younger,” Pickens said of his reasons
for buying the Top Fuel team. “I never want to go through life thinking, ‘I wish
I had done that when I had the chance.’ ”
Authorized The opportunity presented itself when Millican called earlier this season
Weldon after being informed that his team would be parked. Motorvation, Pickens’ fuel-
Repair injection-systems company, which he founded with successful Sportsman racer
Largest T.J. Tracey, had been an associate sponsor of Millican’s since the 2006 Mac
Small Block Chev Stocking Lite Weight Pumps Tools U.S. Nationals. Pickens and Millican had a prior relationship when they
MONSTER Distributor worked together on a civic project to build a skate park in western Tennessee.
“I told him I’d sit down with him when I got back to find out what the
landscape was to help him find a sponsor,” said Pickens. “He said they
owned the equipment, so I asked what they were going to do with it. I put a
High Flow Bypass Diaphragm Xtra-Light call in to find out what they wanted for it, and it took a series of six weeks
High Speed Jet Selector to get it purchased.”
Valve Further complicating the issue was the halted production on a new shop
Electronic Engine that was being renovated in Munford, Tenn., eight minutes north of Memphis
Management Quick Disconnect Bypass Motorsports Park. The materials had already been purchased to transform a
Kinsler ﬁlters have minimum Precision Nozzles & Jets former indoor-amusement building into a race shop, so the race team put on
pressure drop and huge
amounts of premium their hard hats to complete the job.
quality ﬁlter media. “Ninety percent of the work done was done by the crew,” said Pickens.
“They became construction guys. Clay’s wife, Donna, is the office manager,
and she is also the construction foreman and the real crew chief when it
comes to those things.”
The shop was completed with an added touch of a mural on the wall of
the front entrance that commemorates Millican’s six IHRA championships.
The team was able to get back on the racetrack ahead of schedule at the