The world of street racing it’s not to be taken lightly. While some are happy enough to watch it from the sidelines, the most daring struggle for years to become someone in the scene.
That competitive environment added to the undeniable thrill of seeing people putting their lives on the line for the sake of winning races, is what makes the reality TV series “Street Outlaws” so entertaining and successful. That being said, while the many rivalries and bad blood between the drivers might have a special focus in the show, the friendship of Justin “Big Chief” Shearer and Shawn “Murder Nova” Ellington always stood out for us in positive ways, or at least it did before they parted ways in recent seasons.
So whatever happened between Big Chief and Murder Nova? Are they enemies now? Keep with us to know all the details about these two expert drivers’ split!
- 1 What Happened Between Them?
- 2 Is Big Chief In “No Prep Kings”?
- 3 What Did Big Chief Have To Say About It?
- 4 When Will We See Big Chief On TV Again?
- 5 Where’s Murder Nova Now?
- 6 Were Justin and Shawn Penalized By The NHRA?
- 7 Where Did Murder Nova Start?
- 8 How Did Big Chief Start?
- 9 How Rich Are They?
- 10 Is The Show Real?
What Happened Between Them?
If you’re a keen fan of “Street Outlaws”, you surely know that Justin Shearer and Shawn Ellington have been the best of pals for many years. Their friendship started long before the show premiered in 2013 and has lasted for decades, their bond strengthened by their shared passion for cars, similar goals and compatible personalities.
However, following the end of “Street Outlaws” 13th season in 2021, many fans wondered why both men have become distant, often joining different races and seemingly walking separate oaths. Though suspicions about their relationship are correct, and Justin and Shawn indeed no longer work together, the reason behind this isn’t as bad as many people assumed.
Big Chief 405 and Murder Nova are talking #StreetOutlaws with Joshua Gates. Don’t miss an all-new #JoshGatesTonight, tonight at 10p on Discovery and streaming on #discoveryplus.Stream every episode ever of #StreetOutlaws on discovery+. https://links.discoveryplus.com/streetoutlaws
Posted by Discovery on Wednesday, May 12, 2021
As Justin confirmed in an interview with the YouTube channel Sim ABCXYZ in 2021, he and Shawn were at a point in which they wanted different things in life. While he wanted to win and make every sacrifice that came with it, Shawn wanted to split his time equally between cars and his personal life: ‘he was more interested in taking care of his family as he should have been, than staying at the shop every night, or giving up everything to win races’.
As Justin admitted, he understood Shawn’s wishes and though their interests ultimately diverted, their friendship is still in place.
Is Big Chief In “No Prep Kings”?
As any loyal viewer knows, Justin Shearer has been a very important player in “Street Outlaws”, not only because of his skills behind the wheel, but mostly for his big role in creating the famous The List.
Knowing how significant Big Chief’s influence has been for Oklahoma’s street racing scene over two decades, it’s of course flabbergasting to not see him in the 14th season’s episodes of “Street Outlaws”, and its spin-offs “No Prep Kings” and “America’s List”, aired in late 2021.
For starters, his absence from “No Prep Kings” is easily explained by his lack of enthusiasm about no prep racing, regardless of joining some events of this type in the past: ‘If you’re street, be street. If you ain’t, be ain’t’, he admitted years ago.
— Chuck Seitsinger (@StOutlawsChuck) October 16, 2018
That being said, the fact Big Chief appeared in “America’s List”s first season but was strangely absent from the second one is more worrisome. According to a report by XTR HorsePower, Chief had apparently been ready to film the show in early 2022, but an altercation with fellow driver Precious made him leave.
All in all, Big Chief’s exit from the show is unsettling, but the wisest of the audience felt something other than a feud might have happened for Justin to quit “America’s List” that way.
What Did Big Chief Have To Say About It?
The fact Big Chief quit “American’s List” made many people metaphorically lose their mind, especially his fans. For years, Big Chief’s presence in the street racing world has been fundamental in making this scene grow and become what it is nowadays, so knowing he left a race he was meant to be in, is surprising to say the least.
Seeing the many rumors and speculations going around that incident, Big Chief shared an hour-long video on his YouTube channel Midwest Street Cars, to explain what really happened. Though he didn’t directly address the feud and rivalry rumors going around the internet, he explained the whole situation which led to his quitting had to do with his dislike for the show’s direction.
As explained, his role as a master driver meant he was the one to ensure people comply with the race’s rules, which he also didn’t agree with, that arguments often ensued with some uncomfortable results: ‘the people that made those rules and took those decisions, are going to exploit the arguing over those rules and those decisions’, he said, in regards to the TV show featuring him and others speaking their mind in front of cameras.
When Will We See Big Chief On TV Again?
Although the relationship between Justin Shearer and Discovery’s producers might not be the best nowadays, there’s still some hope of seeing him again on TV.
As Justin admitted in an interview with Chris Collins on Facebook in April 2022, Big Chief admitted that he’s open to returning to the small screen, as long as it was in “Street Outlaws” original show: ‘The 405 would be the only way if it was something different. That one means so much, but it only means so much if it’s the same thing’.
Big Chief’s statement isn’t surprising, though. As he had previously admitted in his YouTube heart-to-heart video about his future within the “Street Outlaws” franchise, since the start he had fought hard to make the show the most loyal to what the street racing scene is really like, including the rules and the settings. Though he admitted that sometimes he wasn’t the happiest about every single detail, he and the producers always came to ‘compromises’, even if sometimes it benefitted one side more than the other.
Knowing that the second season of “America’s List” made him realize the problems behind the franchise’s direction, it’s logical that he wants the original show to keep its classic street race-focus. However, whether “Street Outlaws” 405 show will come back on air or not is unknown to this date.
Where’s Murder Nova Now?
Although Shawn Ellington is no longer working with Big Chief, he hasn’t left the automotive world at all. His auto shop -187 Customs – is still active and running as before, focusing on his personal builds for races and other third-party projects.
As seen on his personal website, Murder Nova’s business sells everything from car parts, die casts, signed merchandise and clothes. As if that isn’t enough, his most enthusiastic followers can get a deep insight about his shop and his knowledge about cars, thanks to his online blog The Murder Nova.
Regarding his position in “America’s List”, he took the role of master driver of The 405 following the exit of Big Chief. Though this choice is pretty logical, it led many people to assume that the friendship between the two was on the rocks, even though Big Chief totally denied these claims on social media, by affirming Shawn deserved the spot: ‘Things change, people change, and I think his personality is much better suited for the race-master position than I am’; it’s yet to be known how Shawn’s position as a master driver will turn out,
Were Justin and Shawn Penalized By The NHRA?
No matter how much it sounds like a dream come true for any motorhead and adrenaline junkie, the truth is that it isn’t easy to survive in the street racing world. Besides dealing with rivalries, the likelihood of losing lots of money puts life at high risk most of the time, drivers in this scene also have to deal with legal problems, and so much more.
This is something viewers of “Street Outlaws” know well, as Shawn Ellington was berated in 2015 for being in the show. Given that the show’s popularity was on the rise back then, the uproar regarding street racing had the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) quite angry. As the letter received by Shawn and other members of the 405 Team read, their participation in “Street Outlaws” was against their conduct guidebook, signed by the racers after joining the organization.
Although the letter was directed at Murder Nova, it was Justin Ellington who posted it on social media, to show ‘the consequences’ those involved with street racing faced. The post unsurprisingly caused a social media uproar, pushing the NHRA to publicly declare that the letter was meant to distance the organisation from any form of illegal racing.
Though it’s unknown how the penalization matter was resolved, Shawn and the other show’s drivers haven’t stopped racing.
Where Did Murder Nova Start?
Working hard to improve one’s skills is often what makes the difference between an enthusiast and a winner – such is the case with Shawn Ellington and his path to become one of the fastest drivers in the US.
Shawn’s passion for cars started very early in his life, following his family’s move from California to the small Oklahoma town called Sayre, where his father started an auto repair shop for vintage cars. Although his interest for the field was always there, Shawn wasn’t into speed and racing before moving to Oklahoma City in 2005, where he stepped into the local scene after following a race team out of curiosity: ‘It didn’t take long for me to realize that that’s the place I wanted to be’, he told DragZine in 2021.
Sooner than later, Shawn took his 1969 Camaro to racing, meeting Big Chief on the first night, and from then on his path was set. Despite several speed tickets coming his way, Shawn soon found out that his decision was right: ‘Before I really ‘knew’ Chief, I knew that I was going to change the game. That’s what I wanted to do’, he admitted, and true to his word, a decade later he was known all around the US as the big-tire car racer – Murder Nova.
How Did Big Chief Start?
Compared to Murder Nova, racing came to Big Chief quite differently. Having grown-up in Oklahoma City, Justin Shearer’s beginnings in the street race world happened just naturally, as his family was into it despite not having enough money to afford it: ‘with us, it was just that we barely had the money to keep the car running, in general’, as he said to DragZine.
— The Crow (@TheCrow405) August 23, 2018
According to Big Chief, his family saved money to go to occasional races once in a while, but for them ‘the winning or the losing was the same’, and instead they were focused on following their passion.
The lack of money never deterred him from finding his true path in life – behind the wheel and in the auto shop – but becoming a supposed illegal street racer wasn’t really in his plans. However, unplanned as it was, it was what brought him to where he is nowadays: ‘I don’t really think that I changed drag racing, but I think I was given the opportunity to help’.
Seeing how his passion, hard work and resilience have taken him so far, there’s no doubt why Big Chief is so respected and of importance in the scene.
How Rich Are They?
As it happens, street driving alone can be highly profitable, only if drivers join gambling races often, but the price to pay is for expensive repairs and parts more frequently than any other car owner would.
That being said, appearing in “Street Outlaws” and its several spin-offs has fortunately been financially beneficial for anyone in the shows, especially for those big name drivers such as Big Chief and Murder Nova.
For his part, Shawn Ellington owns his own auto shop, on top of being sponsored both on social media and in races. Given all that, it’s safe to calculate Murder Nova’s net worth at over $700,000, though it’ll surely increase in the following years.
As one of the biggest names in the show, and a force in the street racing scene, Justin Shearer has gained lots of sponsorships through the show, on top of winning highly profitable competitive races. That’s why it’s unsurprising to know that his current net worth is approximately $2 million, but it’ll surely keep growing.
Is The Show Real?
The most common argument to discredit “Street Outlaws” is how the races aren’t illegal at all, as the show’s production reportedly acquire permits for filming, and are most-likely supervised by authorities.
#STREETOUTLAWS Mohave County supervisors on Monday approved a special use permit for crews from the Discovery Channel…
However, that detail shouldn’t be surprising at all, as it’s expected from TV productions to not support illegal activities for entertainment. This doesn’t take any credit away from “Street Outlaws” though, as the show’s purpose is to let the audience see an accurate representation of what street racing looks like, but without surpassing the limits of what is allowed to be shown on TV. That being said, dealing with a little bit of staging is just a small price to pay for the fans who just want to see their favorite adrenaline junkies on their TV screens.