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Chris King Retooled And Ready To Tackle Denver

Chicago firefighter, NHRA Funny Car team owner and driver, Chris King, has one race under his belt in 2023, and he is ready to get his Howards Cams/Competition Products Dodge Charger Funny Car back on track at the Dodge Mile-High Nationals, July 14-16. King shook off the cobwebs at the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance at the end of May, narrowly missing one of the quickest fields in NHRA history. It was his first national event since 2021 and King is looking to improve on that effort at Bandimere Speedway, the track where he made his professional debut.
 
“Bandimere is where it all started for me,” said King, who qualified No. 14 at the 2021 national event. “I want to make some more memories here. Our team got back in the shop after Chicago, and my crew chief Terry Totten put a lot of time into this Funny Car. We got some help from Ron Capps’ crew chief Dean Antonelli, and I can’t thank him enough. I love this sport because it really is like a big family. We want to be out here competing, and there are guys like Guido who are willing to help make that happen.”

King raced three races in 2021 and took 2022 off to build his program and look for a road map to success on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. This season the fireman and professional driver has targeted five NHRA national events, including Chicago and Denver, with the addition of Topeka (KS), Indianapolis (IN) and St. Louis (MO) to his slate of races. The goal is to qualify and build up data for an enhanced schedule in 2024.
 
“You need to be out here as much as possible to get data and also to show a sponsor what you can do for them,” said King. “We have some great partners, and we talk with other companies every week. Our goal is to find partners that want to help an aggressive young team get to the next level. Our focus is on delivering on the track and off the track.”
 
A perfect example of outside-of-the-box marketing and promotion activities King has brought to the sport includes an event he organized in advance of the Chicago race in May. King took several NHRA drivers through the paces at the Robert Quinn Fire Academy today. He was joined by Pro Stock standout Camrie Caruso as well as Pro Mod drivers Lyle Barnett, JR Gray, Jerico Balduf and Mike Thielen for an afternoon of firefighting skill tests and challenges. The group was outfitted in full fire protection gear, including air tanks which added just over 35 pounds to each driver, plus a variety of firefighting tools before they took on the challenging “up and over” drill, which included five flights of stairs up a run across the top of the training facility and then five flights of stairs down to the main floor. The group paused for a photo with the famed Chicago skyline in the background before continuing with more drills.
 
“The Chicago firehouse tour and skills day was something I always dreamed of doing,” said King. “We are going to continue to look for opportunities like that, but right now we need to focus on this Howards Cams/Competition Products Dodge Charger Funny Car. I really think we can get this care competitive and win some rounds. Funny Car has never been tougher, but there is also the opportunity for a single-car team to succeed. That hasn’t always been the case.”
 
King’s race car also has a unique look thanks to the son of Funny Car world champion Jack Beckman. The car debuted in Chicago and King was thrilled with the reception the design by young artist and designer Jason Beckman received.
 
“I it was so cool to see people going nuts over Jason’s Funny Car,” said King. “I saw some of his work and thought it would be cool to get some designs from him. My sponsors and I loved the design that is on the race car so we couldn’t wait to show it off. I am looking forward to making a lot of passes with this design.”
 
The Howards Cams/Competition Products Dodge Charger Funny Car and King will get their first chance to make passes in Denver on Friday afternoon when qualifying for the Dodge Mile-High Nationals get underway. There will be two more qualifying sessions on Saturday with final eliminations for the 16 quickest Funny Cars commencing at 11 a.m. on Sunday. The race will be televised nationally on FOX Sunday evening.

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