PROfile: Mark Pickens

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                                                                                                          Mark Pickens
                                                                                                          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
Description: The team was able to get back on the racetrack ahead of schedule at the Reading event, and they reached the semifinals despite lacking the data of running with new chassis and tire specs that their competitors had acquired this season. In addition to the day-to-day operations of Motorvation, Pickens is a board member of Armstrong Relocation, the largest household goods moving agent in the U.S., and is a partial owner of Primacy Relocation, which provides relocation services for Fortune 500 companies around the world and has offices on every continent but Antarctica.
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