From Ontario…..comes one of the most impressive new car team additions to emerge within Canada’s drag racing spectrum this season….

Cristina and Kyle Harris

Burford Ontario-based KHR (Kyle Harris Racing) added in some impressive tech and stylings to their multi-car drag racing team effort this summer.  New to that mix is a marvellously conceived and constructed Top Dragster — which as the common saying goes “has all the best bells and whistles”.

Overseen and choreographed by team owner Kyle Harris — this new Horton-chassis has been the primary focus of attention for Harris and is a great compliment to his team’s other two machines — a supercharged (and fan favourite) ’32 Bantam and a high quality Junior Dragster class race car.   Eventually, the keys for the all new TD will be thrown over to Kyle’s determined daughter Cristina.

“Three years ago Cristina did have a major crash racing our first attempt in Top Dragster,” Kyle said.  “That was a sobering set back for sure.  We were anxious to rebuild and get back out there fast — not only for our team but also for Cristina, because we had just started down that (class) road.  But we ended up taking more time — our mindset became to make the car as safe as possible – which became an even higher primary objective.  In retrospect — we learned a lot from the crash and put a lot of that education into this upgrade.”

Kyle tasked highly reputed South Carolina-based Horton-chassis, which is overseen by Richard Hartman, with the race car construction.  That end result was a machine that beams with safety – tech – innovation and potential.  In fact this race car could — if Harris was to choose to – run legally within NHRA’s Top Alcohol Dragster class division.

The all new Horton-chassied TD received extensive testing all this season – with Kyle at the wheel.

“An actual TAD chassis design is stiffer and it comes with more robust wings,” Kyle revealed.  “A bigger wing area = more downforce and thus stability.  The driver’s compartment has more safety aspects — including a larger shield too.   In the Top Dragster class it’s not yet mandatory to have shut off transmitters — but we have taken that extra step.  We have a full “RF” shutoff and remote control setup with a range of 800 feet for the person standing behind the car.  If that is activated it shuts off the electric – pulls the pin on the throttle – shuts off the fuel and deploys the parachute — all with one flip of a switch.”

This TD project includes advanced remote shutoff safety technology.

Kyle’s decision to go with such a rigid car also has to do with his team’s passion for HP.  His  popular CJI (Charles Jones Industrial) bantam — features a supercharged alcohol burning engine program by Atchison Machine (London) — and the new dragster’s motor program is near identical.

“The dragster engine is pretty much a twin (481X motor with PSI supercharger) to the altered,” he confirmed. “That makes everything more familiar and also serviceable — but the truth is that the 2500 HP we get to play with is more than we need.  In fact we have to detune things to stay within the index performance limits for legal Top Dragster class racing (ie: no quicker than 6.10 secs).  But we feel that (chasing our opponents) racing strategy does offer some advantage.”

Right now Cristina (20 years old) has yet to jump into the new race car to make a lap — but expectations are that will happen and be fully in place for next year.  Continuing down that route – Cristina’s focus will be within 1/4 mile TD racing (in Canada) while Kyle’s ’32 Bantam will be an almost exclusive 1/8th mile car (i.e. PDRA).

Kyle also revealed that he would like to introduce and offer a new dimension for his race team — this new dragster could eventually be used to help to licence future new drivers.  (More details on that program may come during the off season.)

Highly detuned — the new Top Dragster has run close to it’s target (6.10) with a best of 6.11 secs 237.65 mph this season.

The KHR team has by design chosen to use the new dragster as a salute to the support they have received over the years from many partners.  A great graphic wrap highlights both current and past sponsors prominently.

“We would like to sincerely thank our sponsors who helped us get back on our feet with this dragster build,” Kyle added.  “Charles Jones Industrial Limited, Ironbridge Fabrication, Mountain Tire, Atchison Machine Service, AllSteel Fabrication Inc, Harquip, Hartman Machine Works and Fast Eddie Racewear.  A special thank you to Dordan Motorsports, Zonta Racing Team and Whiting Renovation & Restorations.”

Primary sponsor Mike Azzopardi (the owner of Mountain Tire Hamilton ON) also plays a key hands on role with the KHR race team.

“The COVID impact on drag racing as a sport and for racers in particular is concerning,” Kyle emphasized.  “So we’ve chosen to take the position to use our car to help shine the light on our sponsorship involvement both past and present.   We recognize and appreciate that what they do is absolutely crucial to the survival for drag racing and we thank all of those who understand and buy into that very important and necessary role within our sport.” 

The KHR team is very much a close knit family affair including Kyle’s wife Jennie and future racing stars — daughter and son Cristina and “Flyin’ Ryan.

Post and photos by Bruce Biegler