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It Runs in the Family – Cole Knieriem

Winning the NHRA Jr. Dragster Challenge for the past 3 years in a row, Cole Knieriem is a force to be reckoned with in the junior dragster world.

Coming out of Shepherdsville, Kentucky, Cole Kniereim spent most of his younger years growing up at the racetrack watching several of his family members race. His older sister, Shelby, started racing juniors a few years before so he had a chance to get a sense of what it was like, and he knew immediately that’s exactly what he wanted to do!

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For seven years, Knieriem has been collecting trophies and winner’s circle pictures at mostly his home track, Ohio Valley Raceway, but likes to venture out to new tracks too. He hopes to win the NHRA Eastern Conference Finals one day.

Read more about Junior Drag Racer Cole Knieriem in the following Racer Spotlight.

DragChamp Jr. Racer Spotlight with Cole Knieriem

How long have you been racing?

I have been racing for 7 years.

How did you get introduced to the sport?

Several of my family members have been racing since before I was born, so I have pretty much grown up at the racetrack.

Cole Knieriem

Do any of your other family members race?

Yes. My grandpa, aunt, two uncles, four cousins, my sister, and my dad all race.

Which class or classes and series do you normally compete in?  Where do you normally race? 

I race in the NHRA Jr. Dragster League in the Division 3 Series, and I usually race at Ohio Valley Raceway.

Tell us about your current race car.  How long have you owned it, chassis builder, engine, drivetrain, how fast does it run, etc.

My current car is a 2016 Mike Bos Jr. Dragster that we have owned for less than a year. It runs 7.90’s on the 1/8-mile and goes around 85 mph. It has a Craw’s Racing ZR4 engine with a Craw’s Racing Shockwave clutch.

Cole Knieriem

Do you work on your car?  What are your responsibilities besides driving?

Anything the car needs, which includes things such as putting air in the tires after every round along with fuel and cleaning the clutch. I also change the oil whenever the car needs it and I clean my car whenever it needs it.

Please list your major racing accomplishments.

  • Ohio Valley Points Champion 2017 and 2019
  • Race 2 Recovery Winner 2017
  • NHRA Jr. Dragster Challenge Wally Winner 2017-2019
  • NHRA Division 3 13-17 y/o Champion 2019

Which win are you most proud of?

The NHRA Division 3 13-17 y/o win because it was a win that was not at my home track.

What’s on your bucket list, future goals, what do you hope to achieve?

One day I hope to have a perfect package, to hold a speed record, and to win the NHRA Eastern Conference Finals.

Who has made the biggest impact on your racing success?

My dad

Who do you look up to in the sport?

My dad

Who do you hate to see in the other lane, and why?

I don’t hate to see anyone in the other lane because if you feel like you’re not the best at the track then why be there?

Cole Knieriem

What’s the hardest part of drag racing?

Cutting a good light consistently

What do you enjoy the most about racing?

The people you get to build relationships with that you wouldn’t know otherwise.

Do you love to win or hate to lose?

I love to win!

Friends on and off the racetrack!

Which are you better at the starting line or the finish line?

I used to think it was the starting line… but now I think it’s the finish line.

Besides racing, what do you do in your free time?

Baseball, basketball, youth group activities with my church, and attend NMCA and NMRA races to watch my dad race his car.

Favorite movie or TV show?

Avengers: Endgame

Favorite music, artist?

Country

Cole Knieriem

Where do you spend the most time on the internet?

Youtube

What is your favorite sport?  Favorite team?

Drag racing and the Knieriem Racing Team

Name one thing most people don’t know about you?

I don’t like bacon.

Cole Knieriem

What’s your favorite thing to eat?  Individual item, meal, or restaurant?

Cane’s Chicken

Who would you like to thank, who helps you the most?

My dad

What advice would you give to young aspiring racers?

Racing is fun but if you want to be really good and win a lot, then you have to put in a lot of hard work and dedication.

Megan Strassweg

About the author: Megan Strassweg is a 22 year old Super Comp racer from Louisville, Kentucky. She races a 2015 American Dragster sponsored by Coolshirt Systems. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May of 2020 with a degree in Photojournalism and a minor in Entrepreneurship. Megan works at Jim Butner Auto in the Finance Department. Growing up at the racetrack, drag racing is all she has known and never plans to give up on it. 

You can reach Megan on Facebook or email at megan@dragchamp.com

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