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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Nick Karr: DragChamp Racer Spotlight

Nick Karr is in this week’s DragChamp Racer Spotlight. Learn all about this DragChamp Pro Member in his spotlight below!

SALEM, OR – Nick Karr has been drag racing for the past thirteen years, following in the footsteps of his grandfather who also raced. He began his journey in the Junior Dragster and Junior Street categories, where he earned three track championships. After aging out of the junior ranks, he transitioned to racing big cars, jumping behind the wheel of a 1927 Ford T Roadster.

Currently, Nick competes in the Super Pro category at his local track, Woodburn Dragstrip. He also occasionally races in a specialty class called Top Gas, part of his track’s Nostalgia Racing Series.

Learn more about Nick below!

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His Race Car

Nick’s current race car is a 1927 Ford T Roadster that he has owned since September 2022. The chassis, built in 2003 by Suncoast Racecars, is paired with a GM Performance 502 engine that has been bored .030 over to create a 509 cubic inch big block Chevy. He runs a JW Performance Powerglide, rebuilt by his local Powerglide specialist. The rear end features a Dana 60 rear housing with 4.30 gears. The car runs 5.90s in the 1/8th mile and 9.30s in the 1/4 mile.

Outside of Racing

When Nick isn’t behind the wheel of his race car, he is an avid bowler, currently averaging 239 in his summer league. His favorite movie is “Top Gun: Maverick,” and he enjoys listening to all types of music genres. Besides drag racing, his favorite sport is football, and he is a Seahawks fan. Nick also enjoys watching YouTube videos, especially those by Cleetus McFarland, Justin Swanstrom, and other car-related channels he finds interesting.

Accomplishments

Throughout his racing career, Nick has managed to conquer two Jr. Dragster Championships in 2017 and 2019 at his local track, along with the first Jr. Street Championship for his track in 2017. At the Division 6 ET Finals hosted at his home track, he advanced to the final five cars in the Race of Champions, which concluded on Labor Day. This marked his first ET Finals in a class other than Jr. Dragsters.

Nick’s Q&A

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

Some things that I have on my bucket list would be driving a Blown ’69 Camaro in either the Pro Mod or Top Sportsman class even for one race. But on top of the list would be getting to experience the hit of a Top Fuel Funny Car in the driver seat. In the future, I would love to win some championships at my local track, along with being able to travel around to big money races such the flings or the Great American Bracket Races.

What is your favorite race car, and why?

My favorite race car of all time has to be my 1984 Pontiac Fiero that I built nearly from ground up over a span of 2 years. Just the fact that I was able to complete and run the race car that I built was exhilarating.

Who has made the biggest impact on your racing success?

Many people have contributed to my success in drag racing but nobody tops my Grandpa. He got me started in it and continues to support everything I choose to do within drag racing and makes sure that I have everything I need any time I need it.

Who do you look up to in the sport?

Most people who may see this response most likely won’t know this racer, but at my local track, a racer named Ken Sweo has been one of the most dominant Super Pro racers that we have. He is one of the very few racers that makes me nervous every time I line up next to him. He makes me strive to be a better racer and every time we run we laugh before hand, and then he pushes me to be better on the track.

Tell us what you do for a living?

I work for a company named Highway Specialties. Within the company I can do almost anything such as street sign production, rolling stock maintenance and repair, welding of barricade feet, and production of any barricade that you may see on the side of the road.

How do you support your racing, side hustle, sponsor, partner, etc.?

So far this year, I have only been able to get 2 sponsors, one being my Employer, Highway specialties, and the second being a local oil change company, Enterprise Instant Oil Change. My biggest responsibility for my sponsors is to do the absolute best that I can on the track, to make sure that the logos I have on the car and trailer, and seen by as many people as possible. I have also been able to make some social media posts about my sponsors to help get the word out about each company. 

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

I wouldn’t say that I ever hate seeing anyone in the other lane against me, but there are definitely many racers I get nervous next to, but each time it pushes me to be better.

What’s the hardest part of drag racing?

As a bracket racer, the hardest part that I have found is being as repetitive as possible. Many see it as a simple and easy thing to do from the outside, but what they don’t see is every little detail that has to be almost perfect every pass you make. Not only you, but the race car you are driving.

What’s your most embarrassing moment in a race car?

One of the most embarrassing things that I have done in racing was at a race where I was racing 1/4 mile in the Top Gas category, being that I was so used to Super Pros 1/8 mile races, I had tree’d my competitor by .238, and by muscle memory, I let out at the MPH cone at the 1/8 mile letting my opponent pass me to take the win.

What are you saying to yourself just before you stage the car?

Before every pass, I close my eyes, imagine myself right before the stage beams, and tell myself, focus, you got this.

What do you enjoy the most at the racetrack?

One of the most enjoyable things that I get to experience every time I’m at the track has to be that I get to talk to any racer I walk up to, talk about almost anything and laugh with them, not only making me less nervous for my run, but giving them a good laugh before they make their run.

Are you superstitious?  If so, what are they?

There are definitely a few things I am superstitious about when it comes to racing. If I am not below 140 degrees water temp before I pull into the water box, it gets in my head thinking I’m going to run slow, even if it is only a couple degrees, it throws me completely off and I lose every time it happens. 

Do you love to win or hate to lose? 

I love to win whenever I get the chance, but I also hate to lose on races that I should have easily won or that I gave back and lost.

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

I am definitely a starting line driver, 90% of my losses have been from driving the finish line completely wrong or judging it incorrectly. So far this year, there has only been 2 drivers on completely separate days that have cut a better light on a pass than I have.

If money were no object, what would your racing operation look like?  Car, trailer, class, race schedule, etc.

If I could have any racing operation I wanted, I would build another ’27 roadster, but would put an Oakley 632 engine within the frame rails. I would have my local trailer company, also personal friends from Cascade Trailer, to build me a 32′ stacker that was I could bring both cars with me at all times. I would travel around on the Lucas Oil Series running both Super Comp and Super Gas, and as the year goes on, I would hit as many Big Money Bracket races I could get myself into all around the country.

How often do you use a practice tree? 

I use my practice tree every day as if the world would end if I didn’t.

What is your daily driver?

Currently I drive a 2012 Audi A4

What are you really good at?

I am not necessarily really good at one certain thing, I am more so somewhat good at a lot of things. I am a constant multitasker.

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

Most people don’t know that I had to get all of my teeth pulled due to a gene passed down in the generations to which now I have dentures at only 20 years old.

Would you rather hang out with a crowd or have a quiet evening at home?

If I had the choice to be in a crowd or be at home, it would have to be a car crowd where I could easily work myself into, where if it is for something that I know nothing about, I would rather have a quiet evening at home.

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

Currently my favorite thing to eat has to be vanilla ice cream.

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

There are too many people that helped me get to where I am to name just one. I have to thank both of my grandparents, my mom and stepdad for the support they give me, to my sponsors who support me, and most of all my racing family that never lets me down.

For more DragChamp racer spotlights, click here.

Want to become a DragChamp Pro Member like Nick? Check out the details here

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