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Topeka Lights A Fire For Chris King

Nothing is more motivating for a drag racer than achieving back-to-back career bests. Chris King, the Chicago-based Funny Car team owner and driver, was able to experience this firsthand at the Menards NHRA Nationals Presented by PetArmor in Topeka. This weekend followed King’s recent success at the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals in Denver in July, the upstart driver was able to reset personal best elapsed time and speed records during qualifying for the second consecutive NHRA national event.
 
“We’re continuing to improve every lap out,” said King. “Every run is faster and faster and we’re learning more about the car as we go. The big picture is that we’re accomplishing our goals.”

During round one of qualifying, King made his quickest pass to date of 4.571 seconds at 223.91 mph. Then, in round two he bested himself again by making a clean, 4.524 second pass at 231.99 mph, setting a new elapsed time record.
 
“It’s a reminder for why I am putting myself out there and competing in these races when I can climb out of the car and see our results improving,” said King. “This is only my second season as a driver, and it’s really easy to be discouraged in this sport. We’re a small team competing against giants, but we don’t let that stop us.”
 
The driver of the Howards Cams/Competition Products Dodge Charger Funny Car just barely missed qualifying for the race on Sunday, coming in at the No. 17 spot. For King, doing so well and coming so close, only to miss the mark serves as even more motivation to come back with a better car in the next race.
 
“It’s very disheartening to get bumped out,” said King. “But it’s all experience in repetition. I’ll continue to get faster at the starting line. The guys will continue to get better at tuning the car. You have to remember, that most of my guys are new. And we often have a few different guys every week. We’re constantly trying to teach guys new things and they have to get used to what they’re doing so they’re comfortable. And all of that takes time.”

Topeka is just the start for a hot streak for King and his team. The full-time firefighter is now gearing up for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd on Aug. 17-20 and the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Aug. 30-Sep. 4. This will be King’s biggest stretch of racing in his career thus far.
 
“While this weekend was not entirely what we wanted, it was a great learning opportunity going into these next couple of races,” said King. “I know the guys will keep getting better and better and I am going to put the work in to get better. I’m fired up to get time on the track, with the fans and with the other drivers. Those are the things that make race weekends the most fun.” 

This story was originally published on August 14, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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