NHRA Funny Car team owner and driver Chris King is eager to reintroduce himself to the ever-growing NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series fandom with his 2023 debut at the Gerber Collision and Glass Rt. 66 Nationals, May 19-21. The Chicago firefighter is pursuing his dream at over 300 mph in less than four seconds racing the Howards Cams/Competition Products Dodge Charger Funny Car at Rt. 66 Raceway in Joliet. The aspiring professional driver will once again be tuned by veteran Terry Totten for at least six NHRA national events and will be looking to chase rookie of the year honors.
“I have been working on this Funny Car deal since our last race in 2021,” said King, who raced successfully in the Top Alcohol Funny Car ranks. “I want to test myself against the best of the best, but I also want to make sure my operation goes A to B with quality parts and a professional looking team. I have to thank Howard Cams, Competition Products, Red Line Oil, and Reid Rocker Arms for coming on board and helping make this happen. We plan on doing at least six and maybe more races if everything works out. We are trying to secure sponsors every day.”
King’s plan to race at least six NHRA national events include Chicago as well as races in Norwalk (OH), Denver (CO), Topeka (KS), Indianapolis (IN) and St. Louis (MO). Throughout this stretch of races King, who is also the owner of King Training Innovations LLC, a firefighter training company, is representing several public safety charities including Ignite The Spirit, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, The Ronnie Thames Foundation, and The Leary Firefighters Foundation.
“Everything I do, I do 100% and whether it is racing or helping others I want to give it my all,” said King, who in his time off enjoys playing hockey, building and remodeling homes, and a variety of outdoor activities. “I started racing motorcycles when I was 10 and I moved over to drag racing at Great Lakes Dragway. Going fast and competing has been in my blood my whole life. I have a lot of people to thank for helping me along the way including Funny Car pros like Frank Hawley and Jack Beckman.”
Ironically, several car designs created by Jason Beckman, son of former Funny Car world champion Jack Beckman caught King’s eye and he reached out to the young designer to create artwork for his Funny Car. One of the samples the 14-year-old Beckman submitted impressed King and his sponsors enough that it was used on King’s nitro Funny Car he will be racing this season. Both Beckmans will be on hand at the Chicago race to see Jason’s creation in action for the first time.
“I saw some of Jason’s artwork and I was really impressed. I am all about paying it forward, so I reached out to see if he wanted to design the look of my Funny Car,” said King. “His dad Jack was very encouraging to me when I was making the move from alcohol Funny Car to nitro Funny Car. I love the NHRA community and it really is one big family. I missed being away from it and I am working my tail off to get out here as much as possible.”
In 2021 King entered three national events qualifying for all three with his best qualifying effort coming in Denver when he started the race from the No. 14 spot. He followed that up with No. 15 qualifiers at Topeka and St. Louis. “We were shaking down a new car and operation and it definitely had some gremlins that we worked through. As a driver it taught me a lot about driving these insane machines”.
King will get his first chance to show off for the Chicago fans on Friday night, May 19. The Funny Car class will have two more qualifying runs on Saturday. May 20 from Rt 66 Raceway with final eliminations for the 16 quickest Funny Cars commencing at 12 p.m. ET. The race will be broadcast nationally on FS1 beginning at 10 p.m. ET.