Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Firefighting Funny Car Driver Chris King Challenges Pros at Quinn Fire Academy

(from left: Mike Thielen, JR Gray, Lyle Barnett, Chris King, Camrie Caruso and Jerico Balduf pause during the "Up and Over" drill, photo credit Werner Communications

In advance of the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals Chicago firefighter and driver of the Howards Cams/Competition Products Dodge Charger Funny Car Chris King took several NHRA drivers through the paces at the Robert Quinn Fire Academy today. King 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. This event was something King has been planning since he broke onto the NHRA Funny car scene in 2021.

“I think today opened their eyes a little bit to what firefighters do every day for the community and it gave them a different perspective on things,” said King, who will be making his 2023 Funny Car debut this weekend. “I hope they had fun, too. This has been a dream of mine for a long time to bring my life as a firefighter to my life as a racer. Bringing these two together is something I’ve tried to do for a long time but I’m glad we were finally able to pull it off. It’s exciting. I got goosebumps just thinking about it. This is what I do day in and day out. I live for the fire department. I live for drag racing. To be able to combine these into one thing just makes my day I love it. I really appreciate Camrie, Lyle, JR, Jerico and Mike taking the time to try this out.”

Lyle Barnett cuts into staged vehicle as Chris King (middle) directs, photo credit Werner Communications

Following the “up and over” drill the group was instructed how to properly breach a door and they took turns simulating pulling a 150-pound person out of a fire. They were also provided the opportunity to man a pressurized fire hose, shoot water across the training facility and go through a multi-stage obstacle course. The highlight of the event for the drivers was the chance to use a variety of cutting and prying tools to dissect several automobiles.

“Today was a cool experience that was definitely eye opening to see what firefighters and first responders have to deal with and the challenges that I go through every day to save people’s lives,” said Caruso, who will be competing in not just the national event but the NHRA Pro Stock All-Star Callout. “It doesn’t matter what kind of fire it is, these

guys are really getting a workout. The work they do is amazing. I really appreciate Chris setting this up and I also want to thank all the Safety Safari staff for being at the track and being ready to help us. Wearing all the gear today showed me I might need to spend more time in the gym, but it was a great afternoon.”

The drivers will all be in action on the track starting Friday, May 19 with the first day of qualifying in all their various classes. Fans can purchase tickets to the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals here and follow the NHRA social media channels for additional coverage of today’s event.

You May Also Like


The star-studded STREET OUTLAWS: No Prep Kings series is set to return for its 6th season in the summer of 2023. Fans can expect to...


Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings star and renowned engine builder Pat Musi joined the recent episode of The Wes Buck Show and provided an update...


Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings star Lizzy Musi announced today that she has been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer via her Youtube channel....


Tony Christian, one of the pioneering drivers of the Pro Street movement, passed away Thursday, June 9. Christian was infamous for his battles with...

Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.