As we all know the sport of drag racing can certainly be a bonding experience for families and examples of that run rampant at pretty much any drag racing event you attend……
In that vein, an interesting story emerging from the province of Ontario involves the rather impressive and aspiring family run and multi-car KHR Racing team owned by Kyle Harris based from Burford.
Harris, who gathered his skills as a long time crew member to former IHRA Alcohol Funny Car World Champion Robbie Atchison, has himself graduated to the cockpit over the past couple seasons and is also honing his daughter, 14-year old Christina, for the future.
Kyle has, during the last two years, been busy crafting a Top Dragster class program using a ’32 Bantam body cladded over one of Rob Atchison’s former AFC chassis configurations.
“When Rob Atchison decided to go Pro Mod racing — one of his FC chassis became available,” Harris explained. “This was a former IHRA Championship car (the one that ran the Firebird body). In 2012 I took it back to Horton Race Cars (where it was originally made) to have it gone over and to install the Bantam body. I wanted it to look very Professional and when I got it back I could not have been happier.”
Kyle kicked things off as a driver during the 2013 season running some select events using a Chevy small block motor with a 6-71 supercharger and with that the car did run a 7.40 at 180 mph.
“When I was starting off Rob Atchison helped me immensely,” Kyle continued. “He was adamant that with a car configured like this I needed to begin with some low level power — nothing too crazy — while I got use to driving it.”
In 2014, Kyle upgraded his altered’s engine program going to a new billet Chevy Block with aluminum heads and a 14-71 Kobelco supercharger.
“With help from Rob and Bob Atchison I now had about 25% more HP to work with for this season,” Kyle added. “But my plan was to still take things rather conservatively. We ran some of the Quick 32 and DSE events in 2014 to practice and to educate ourselves and had a best time of 6.97 secs on the 1/4 and 4.28 secs on the eighth mile. The plan for my car is for it to be a middle of the field 6.7 Top Dragster class qualifier and run 8-10 events in 2015. Potentially the car could run even quicker – possibly in the 6.4 secs range.”
Right in tandem to his own racing plans Kyle has been overseeing the development of his daughter Christina – who has already become a rather accomplished Junior Dragster driver in her own right. That includes winning the Junior Dragster title during last summer’s Canadian Nitro Nationals at Cayuga.
Plans for the KHR race team’s future include an eventual rear engined dragster for Christina which will happen in a couple of years when she comes of age.
“At some point I am going to put one of Robbie’s AJ Pro Mod motors in my altered and the engine in my altered will go into the new dragster for Christina,” he surmised. “But both of those will be calculated steps forward and only when the time is right.”
After the racing season was completed in Canada last fall, Kyle and Christina did attend the PDRA’s 1/8 mile World Finals event at Virginia Motorsports Park last October with both cars. Unfortunately that event was weather plagued and the team could not stay for the rain forced deferred conclusion.
“Our team made the decision to travel to Virginia because we wanted to see how the different track conditions would affect our tune up and also to give Cristina a chance to race her Junior Dragster with the PDRA group,” Kyle added. “Unfortunately, weather moved into the area. Qualifying started on Friday and was not completed until Sunday evening. Both cars did qualify — Cristina #6 with a 7.914 on a 7.90 index and I was sitting on #16 with a 4.28 secs. We had to head home on Monday but were very excited with the performance with the new combination in the Altered and with the fact we were able to qualify both cars. Right at the year end I think we made big moves in the right direction and the data collected will help me to improve performance for next year.”
Kyle’s team also includes and is rounded out by his brother and crew chief Cody, son Ryan and very supporting wife Jennie. The primary financial support for his drag racing operation comes from Equipment Express (where he is employed) who are specialists in transportation handling overside loads.
For more information on Equipment Express visit their website: HERE
Post and Photos by: Bruce Biegler