It’s been quite a year for Colorado native Chris Vang, and it’s one that has been in the works for his whole life. The multi-class racer earned his second national event win this year in Chicago in Stock Eliminator, and a short while later, he raced to a hard fought and deeply desired victory in Mountain Motor Pro Stock at Bandimere Speedway, the track where he grew up watching his parents race until finally getting to race cars of his own.
[Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in DI #185, the 30 Under 30 Issue, in Nov/Dec of 2023.]
“My parents were racing before I was born, so I grew up helping my dad on the car. I loved it from the start and always wanted to help and learn more about it,” says Vang, who is also a large part of brother-in-law Deric Kramer’s Pro Stock team as truck driver and clutch/transmission man. At the race shop in Colorado, he maintains the rig and the race vehicles.
Vang began racing in NHRA’s Jr. Drag Racing League at the age of eight, then moved up to bracket racing at Bandimere Speedway before taking over his mom’s ’67 Chevelle in Super Street. He won the track championship and a divisional race driving the Chevy, which he eventually purchased from his parents and plans to race again in the near future.
While working full-time on Kramer’s Pro Stocker, Vang is also actively competing in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series in a variety of categories. His racing history includes time behind the wheel in everything from Super Street to Top Dragster, Top Sportsman, and Mountain Motor Pro Stock. The trophies he earned this season in Mountain Motor Pro Stock and Stock Eliminator go alongside the one he earned in Super Street in 2017 at Houston Raceway Park.
“I consider my greatest accomplishment in drag racing the fact that I’ve been in four final rounds in four different classes. I’m at the point now where I’m trying to chase Jeggie and Bo, see how many I can get,” says Vang, referring to Jeg Coughlin Jr., who has won in seven different NHRA categories, and Bo Butner, who has won in six. Vang was runner-up in Super Comp in Houston in 2019.
This season’s triumph in Denver was particularly special for Vang.
“I still can’t believe it actually happened; it’s crazy I pulled it off,” says Vang, who defeated Erica Enders in the final round of Mountain Motor Pro Stock at the last NHRA Mile-High Nationals held at the historic, now-closed facility. “Every year, I say I’m not racing that one because I just lose first round every time. To finally be able to win, and to win against Erica, was really cool. It was a lot of work, but we were picking away and able to get the job done with everyone there, my parents, Sarah [wife], Daria [sister], and the Pro Stock team. That made it really special.”
Vang hopes to continue racing well into the future, chasing the Super Comp win to add to his collection, driving the Kramer family’s COPO in Stock, and possibly bringing out his own Stocker, a unique front-wheel drive, four-door ’00 Grand Prix fit with a supercharged V-6.
“I just love this, and I have worked really hard and dedicated my life to this sport,” says Vang. “It’s awesome to be recognized for it as part of the 30 Under 30, especially considering all the past honorees. It’s a group of really good racers and people in the sport, and it means a lot to have my name on that list.”