Chicago firefighter Chris King will make his professional debut July 16-18 at the Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver. King, who has experience in both Top Alcohol Funny Cars and Nostalgia Nitro Funny Cars, will pilot a Toyota for Mark Howard's Papillion, Neb.-based Howard Motorsports Funny Car operation.
"Not many people ever get the chance to drive a nitro Funny Car, let alone compete in one at the highest level of the sport, and I get chills and get all fired up just thinking about it," King said. "Tomorrow isn't guaranteed — especially in my line of work — and I'm 100% focused on making this happen while I can. Who knows? With some sponsor help and a little luck, maybe I can make a name for myself out here."
After Denver, Howard Motorsports' all-volunteer crew, led by crew chief Terry Totten and sponsored by Chip Lofton's Vita C Shots.com, Impact, Competition Products, Howard's Cams, and JJ Supply of North Carolina, will run Topeka and possibly Indy.
King, whose permanent driver number is 343 to honor the 343 New York firefighters killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, represents The Ronnie Thames Foundation, a public-safety/first-responder charity that works toward children's burn prevention, care and hospitality for families going through burn hospitalizations, first-responder recognition, and public-safety programs.