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The Motengator—All hail Chip King’s championship-caliber NMCA Xtreme Pro Mod Mustang

Posted By: Steve Baur
Written by Ainsley Jacobs
Photography by Kevin DiOssi

 
Growing up in Roxboro, North Carolina, Chip King had nearby Roxboro Motorsports Dragway at his disposal throughout his teen years. That early exposure to drag racing set the foundation for King’s lifelong involvement in the sport, and, ultimately, his success as an NMCA Xtreme Pro Mod champion.
 
King, now 59, originally started as a bracket racer, but the subset of the sport had one big drawback.
 
“I was ok with losing, but I never could get used to losing for going too fast,” laughed the man who began competing in his late-teen years. “I moved on to Comp Eliminator-type classes and held some records in IHRA a few times.”
 
Eventually, King tired of waiting in the staging lanes while the Pro classes ran, so he got the bright idea to put together a Pro Stock car. In the early-1990s, he commissioned Jerry Haas Race Cars to build a Dodge Daytona Pro Stock entry, but was “quickly out-cubic-inched” by other racers and missed out on a championship title by a slim margin.
 

Next, during the mid-1990s, King partnered with Gary St. Denis to pilot a Dodge in his Pro Stock program for a few seasons but King lost interest.
 
“Then my dad died, things happened, I started another business, and wound up hanging out in the circle track world,” King noted of how his path strayed from straight-line racing. 
 
A serendipitous trip to the PRI Show in the late 1990s, however, brought King back to his roots.
 
“I was talking to a friend at Indy Cylinder Heads and he informed me that the Hemi engine had been made legal in IHRA Pro Mod racing. They offered to provide the power if I built a car,” he stated. “I was absolutely mortified! I never liked blower cars, but I worked out a deal and traded my Pro Stock car for a truck and trailer and had a car built by Alan Pittman.”
 

With a Hemi under the hood of his car, King reluctantly began racing in a straight line again and was pleasantly surprised when he was the number-one qualifier just a few races later. He built on that momentum and brought the Hemi platform into NHRA Pro Mod, too, when the category debuted in the series roughly 20 years ago.
 
“It was an exhibition class at first, but I’ve raced every season in a row until 2021,” King added, the only man in the class to be able to make such a claim. “I skipped NHRA that year because I was solely focused on NMCA.”
 
It was in 2021 that King unveiled his latest Pro Mod ride, a stunningly beautiful work of mechanical art that he had christened “The Motengator.” According to him, the name represents “a rare breed of racehorse that dominates the field with the fury of 10,000 MFers” and he did just that with his 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1.
 
King came across the Motengator while it was at Justin Carmack’s Carmack Engineering shop getting wired and finished. It was originally built by Jerry Bickel Race Cars for Terry Leggett, who campaigned it in PDRA Pro Extreme. Long story short, the longtime Mopar man had been racing his 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona at the time but, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and threw a wrench in racing all across the country, he offered to buy Leggett’s ride, which sat idle.
 

King continued with the Daytona for a few more NHRA races, but a testing incident before the 2020 NHRA U.S. Nationals meant a change of plans, and cars, was in order.
 
“We went testing and barrel-rolled the car over the wall. There was nothing left of it,” he shared of the harrowing incident. King took his wrecked ride to Carmack, who pulled whatever was salvageable and placed it into the Mustang instead.
 
“Two weeks later, I slipped getting out of a dump truck and fell and was paralyzed. I ended up having surgery on my spine that kept me from driving for six months or so,” King continued of the incredibly difficult time in his life.
 
Fortunately, he made a full recovery and decided to get back to racing with the NMCA with the blessing of his wonderful wife, Lori Wilson. So, the Motengator was officially called into service and buttoned up to ensure it was ready to rip.
 

Under the one-piece front end sits Joe Hornick Enterprises power in the form of a mechanically injected, Chrysler 526-cubic-inch Hemi. The engine is outfitted with Diamond pistons, R&R connecting rods, a Bryant crank, JHE custom heads, custom valve covers, and much more. Taking center stage, though, is a superb Chuck Ford high-helix 14-71 Roots supercharger, while a set of Pro-Fab headers quickly eliminate the exhaust gasses after the powerplant has combusted its potent mixture of air and Sparks Oil Company M1 fuel.
 
Producing gobs of horsepower is fun, but it requires a stout drivetrain to effectively transfer it to the ground and King relies on a B&J Racing two-speed transmission with a Quick Drive Racing drive unit, one of many different torque converters, Bohr Racing Products bellhousing, and a Precision Shaft Technologies driveshaft.
 
Out back, Carmack’s finest fabrication work is evident in the rearend and King celebrates his friend’s skills with a tongue-in-cheek sticker proudly boasting “Carmack’s a d*ckhead, but does good work.” 
 

Chris Bell at Kinetic Engineering worked with the guys to put together a shock program, front to rear, to help the Motengator stretch its legs to the fullest.
 
“Carmack did all the wiring, he’s very detailed and we’ve got a ton of sensors in it. We have FuelTech for ignition control, Davis Technologies Profiler traction-control unit, and Terry Coyle designed the fuel system,” King detailed of the Mustang’s specs. “It’s a very lightweight car at 2,400 pounds. Probably not the most aerodynamic, but we manage to run good speed with it.”
 
Splashed across the side of the beautiful Mustang is the DreamWorks Motorsports logo, a proud partner of King’s for years. The company, which is located in North Carolina and owned by King’s longtime friend Adam Wolfe, offers high-end vehicle customization services for everything from bulldozers to Bentleys.
 
King went all-in in NMCA VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod in 2021 and found that consistency was the key to greater glory.
 
“We didn’t win a race, but we did win the championship,” he said happily of his first-ever title in doorslammer drag racing. King made it happen by going rounds, scoring runner-up finishes at both the Atlanta and St. Louis events, and taking the top spot in qualifying at Norwalk.
 

For 2022, King decided to indulge in a second season of fun and kicked things off at the 20th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem Presented by Holbrook Racing Engines in sunny Florida in mid-March. Racing at Bradenton Motorsports Park, King qualified well in second overall with a 3.673 at 203.74mph trip and proceeded on to the duty of getting down to business.
 
Eliminations began well when he got the win over Felix Garcia—King going 3.685 at 202.88 mph to Garcia’s 4.094 at 179.37mph effort. In round two, though, the tables turned. Despite having a quicker pass of 3.678 at 202.91 mph than Scott Wildgust in the opposing lane, King “bleeped a little” when he went to stage and wasn’t focused on the tree. As a result, his slower reaction time cost him the win.
 
Taking advantage of another opportunity to put a few more laps on his Mustang and get some more data, King raced at the PDRA East Coast Nationals at GALOT Motorsports Park in North Carolina in early April. Qualified 11th on a 3.651 at 202.85mph trip in mineshaft conditions, King gathered more data in round one but wasn’t able to turn the win light on during the outing.
 
Undeterred, King moved on to Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina in April for the 14th Annual Scoggin Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by MAHLE Motorsport. He spent time testing different parts on his CFH-supercharged entry on Friday and making changes to maximize its potential. Once again, King found himself in the number-two spot after the NMCA VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod qualifying order solidified—this time with a 3.680 at 202.12mph hit.
 

King was paired with Harry Hruska in the opening matchup of eliminations and things just didn’t work out in his favor.
 
“We had been fast on Saturday and thought we were in good shape on Sunday. The car left the line fine but went left and carried me over the center line,” he shared of the unexpected circumstances.
 
For the third stop on the 2022 tour, the 17th Annual NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing presented by FueLab at World Wide Technology Raceway near St. Louis, Missouri, in May, King knew he had quite a car on his hands.
 
“It was deadly in the heat. We had a big advantage in elapsed time in testing during the day,” he recalled. “But, as it got cooler and more overcast, everyone else started catching up.”
 

Despite a tight field, King took the top spot in qualifying with a 3.684 at 202.76mph run and got to enjoy a bye run in round one of eliminations as a result. Facing off against Randy Merrick in round two, Merrick’s reaction time gave him the slight advantage he needed to get the win and King found himself on the wrong side of a holeshot win once again.
 
Now, King is more determined than ever to win a race—if only to make his guys quit giving him a hard time.
 
“We’ve been fast and consistent with a good package, but it hasn’t come together yet… and that’s more on the driver than the crew,” added King with his trademark humor. “I’ve tried to be more conservative on the tree so I was getting beat there because I didn’t want to look dumb and red light with a fast car, but it looks even dumber to lose because you’re late.”
 
King understands that sometimes he gets a little too comfortable with a certain combination and that changing things can make it tough to adjust. So, in addition to working on his Mustang’s performance, he’s also been working on his performance with mentorship from a well-known performance driving instructor so that he can get his mind in the right place to be deadly on the tree.
 

He has also been busy testing and spent three days back at GALOT in June to get the Motengator’s attitude adjusted. There, it looked like King was back in his bracket racing glory days as he let loose with an incredibly consistent string of runs including 3.679, 3.664, 3,651, and 3.640—a new personal best for the driver, despite track temperatures beyond 140 degrees.
 
“My 16-year-old was with me posting on social media and said ‘Dad, one of the girls I’m friends with says you’re a DILF!’ I made, like, 11 runs in the 3.60s with tons of water in the air and I was more tickled about that comment than the racing,” laughed the jokester who is, apparently, still in his prime.
 
With half the season still to go, King is third in the points chase and is confident that his hard work, persistence, and patience will soon pay off. He plans to continue out the 2022 NMCA VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod season with his Mach 1 Motengator and hopes to take his first trip to the NMCA winner’s circle with a Victor award in his hands at one if not all of, the remaining races.
 
Not one to ever sit still, though, King also expects to campaign his supercharged and DreamWorks-backed 2019 Chevrolet Camaro at some NHRA Pro Mod events as well. Similarly, he’s also been busy getting a third ride ready—a 1970s-era Dodge Charger Daytona R/T.
 
“I found a receipt from the first car Jerry Haas built for me and 30 years later to the exact day I was sitting in his shop again,” King commented on the cool circumstances that have brought him full circle with two different Daytonas. “I told him we had a problem because the old car, complete, cost the same as the deposit on the new car!”
 
Wherever his career takes him, and whatever car he winds up wheeling at any given time, King’s unfailing humor, kindness, willingness to always see a bright side to any situation, and his ability to not take himself too seriously will surely serve him well as he powers past obstacles on his way to the win.
 

The Details

Owner/Driver
Owner: Lori Wilson
Drive: Chip King
Hometown: Roxboro, North Carolina
Occupation: Adult Entertainer/Pipe Layer
Crew: Terry Coyle (Crew Chief), Justin Carmack (Car Chief/Operations Manager), Robbie Matthews (Service Manager), Eli Moore (Jack of All Trades), Travis Eubanks (Mechanic), Chaz Ownbey (Mechanic), Al Day (Truck Driver)
Car/Year/Make/Model: 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 built by Jerry Bickel Race Cars
 
Powertrain
Engine: Chrysler 4.800-inch Hemi
Engine Builder: Joe Hornick Enterprises
Displacement: 526 cubic inches
Block: BAE
Bore: 4.310 inches
Stroke: 4.500 inches
Crank: Bryant
Rods: R&R 7.315 inches
Pistons: Diamond
Heads: JHE
Valvetrain: JHE
Cam Type: 70mm JHE
Carb or EFI: Mechanical fuel injection controlled by Fueltech FT600
Power adder: Chuck Ford 14-71 Roots Blower with a 16-percent Overdrive
Fuel Brand/ Type: M1 Methanol from Sparks Oil Company 
Headers: Profab/2.500-inch
Transmission: Drive Unit-Quick Drive with B&J two-speed automatic
Torque Converter: Carmack Engineering/Greg Slack/Trans Specialties/Coan/Neal Chance/Hughes/FTI/M&M/Pro Torque/BTE/PTC/ATI/TCI/  
Rearend: Carmack Engineering 4.57 ratio
 
Chassis
Chassis Builder: Jerry Bickel Race Cars
Suspension: Kinetic Engineering, front and rear
Brakes: Lamb, front and rear
Wheels: Weld, front and rear
Tires: Hoosier front and rear
Weight: 2,400 pounds
Quickest ET: 3.640 seconds
Fastest MPH: 205.81
Best 60-Foot: .901 seconds
Sponsors- Dreamworks Motorsports, MWP Contracting, King BEE, Carmack Engineering, Joe Hornick Enterprises, Chuck Ford, SCE, ProFab, Davis Technologies, Fueltech, Kinetic Engineering, Diamond Pistons, R&R Connecting Rods, Quick Drive, B&J Transmissions, Precision Shaft Technologies, Bohr Racing Products, Schaffer’s Oil Company by Greg

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