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Krista Baldwin Acquires Pat Dakin’s Top Fuel Team Operation, Heads to the Winternationals with New Look 

Third generation Top Fuel pilot and team owner, Krista Baldwin, acquires the Top Fuel operation from veteran racer Pat Dakin. Baldwin will make her first appearance of the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods season at this weekend’s Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, CA. With a fresh look of black, red, sparkle silver, and a splash of cheetah, Baldwin anxiously awaits to hit the gas with her new team led by crew chief Scott Graham. The team welcomes AB&I Foundry, Zurn, Elkay, Fire Safe Group, and Zoeller as marketing partners for the WinterNationals. 

“I have been saying it for about a year now, that I needed to make the next step in my driving career,” said Baldwin. “This opportunity presented itself over the off-season, and I couldn’t say no. This was more than buying a new chassis for the season. This is buying myself a complete package to be consistently in the 3.7-second range. You cannot go to a NHRA drag race and expect to win with a 3.8-second car. It’s impossible. So now I’m creating a path for myself to propel me straight into the middle of the competition.” 

Baldwin watched during testing and Gainesville that the Top Fuel competition will be something fierce for the 2024 season. But with the right car, the right operation, and the right crew, she believes that she can put on a show for the fans and bring in some win lights for her marketing partners. 

“This year, Top Fuel is going to be cutthroat. I believe that I have everything it takes to be successful in this class. Scott Graham will give me a car that will win races. Now that hard part is up to me as the driver to cut killer reaction times and be smart going down the track. At the end of the day, I still need to make the right split-second decisions on track as a driver and team owner.” 

Baldwin is currently the only woman to own and drive a Top Fuel dragster. She will continue to hustle to make sure that her tenure in the sport of drag racing is as long as her grandfather’s. 

“My grandpa drove Top Fuel dragsters for over 70 years. Safe to say that I am going to be here for a long time and I’m going to enjoy every second of it. Just how Sinatra sang it, ‘I did it my way,’ and I’m going to do it my way to propel the sport, my marketing partners, and myself into the future.”

In addition to a new scheme on the car, Baldwin welcomes a slew of new partners for her program. Red Line Oil, Justice Brothers, DENSO, Powerbuilt Tools and Hoosier Trainer are among some of the companies that support Baldwin in her effort to 3.7’s for 2024. 

“I love heading home to Pomona. It’s where I grew up and where I learned to be the person I am today. I’m excited to share the new look of the dragster to match teammate Paul Lee’s McLeod funny car. I think our partners will enjoy seeing their brands on both cars this weekend.” 

Baldwin’s first hit in her new car will be Friday night for the first session of qualifying. To follow the action, be sure to follow @KristaBaldwinRacing on the social media channels. 

This story was originally published on March 19, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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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.