Funny Car team owner and driver Chris King made the most of his time at the 2023 PRI Show in Indianapolis renewing several sponsorships as well as landing new partnerships with Fire Department Coffee, NGK Spark Plugs and Goodson Tools & Supplies. The veteran driver will continue to add marketing programs as the Chicago firefighter heads into a busy off-season in advance of his return to racing action during the 2024 NHRA Mission Food Drag Racing Series. The team relocated their racing operation to Brownsburg, Indiana, and added veteran tuner Bob Peck as crew chief for the Funny Car team.
“We solidified existing deals with Competition Products, Howards Cams, Red Line Oil, Impact Safety, and Reid Rocker Arms,” said King, who competed in five NHRA national events in 2023. “We’ve added new partnerships with Fire Department Coffee, NGK Spark Plugs, Goodson, and we are working on a couple other deals. We have more partners and better deals than any point in my career, but as we all know these race cars run on nitro and money.”
The extension of marketing programs and addition of new partners shows that King and his Funny Car team are moving in the right direction. Throughout the 2023 season, King was active both in advance of national events and during the races, promoting his sponsors and interacting with the media and fans.
“I feel like we have strong momentum for our program. The deals we are putting together are a mix of cash and products,” said King. “I am still pretty much self-funded, but with these part deals and assistance from equipment suppliers allow us to expand our program. We want to put ourselves in position to continually improve our performance and represent our sponsors to the highest level on and off the track.”
The addition of Peck as crew chief has already shown dividends for King’s Funny Car team. The number of connections in the availability of people, parts, resources, and knowledge has improved the outlook for the team. King has also worked to develop positive relationships within the industry to build a strong foundation for his team.
“We’ve had conversations with Guido (Dean Antonelli, Ron Capps’ crew chief), and we have had conversations with John Medlen. Bob’s got everybody on speed dial because he is worked with them,” said King. “I am getting goosebumps thinking about it right now. We are taking the car apart, servicing, modifying, and improving, everything is going out for recertification right now and if everything comes back okay we’ll be good to go for the Gatornationals. After Gainesville, we will do our normal Midwest swing of Chicago, Norwalk, St. Louis, Brainerd, and Bristol. I would like to race the event that will replace Topeka. Anything after that is financial, depends on parts and Bob’s availability. We are hoping to swing for a home run here and turn this part-time operation into a full-time operation.”
In 2023, King made big strides behind the wheel and on the performance side, running career-quickest runs numerous times. The team will make adjustments to the Funny Car that will make him more comfortable and competitive.
“We found my reaction times on paper looked great, but the car was limiting those because the 60-foot times were off. We are going to try and identify, then fix the problem,” said King. “If we can do that my reaction times are going to go from good to even better, which is going to get the car moving faster sooner. We will be able to improve our ETs and performance. My comfort level in the car is better and we already made chassis changes, so I fit in the car which is going to make me more comfortable. This Competition Parts and Howards Cam Dodge Funny Car is going to be night and day different.”
King will make his return to the track for the historic NHRA Gatornationals, March 8-10, 2024.