Chase King is quickly forging a successful career in Dirt Late Model racing as both a driver and a car builder. Less than a month ago, the Seymour, Tenn. native drove his Crate Late Model to victory at the 411 Motor Speedway on a night that offered double features in that class. Earlier in the year, the young driver had scored multiple wins on that same track in the now defunct Thunder & Lightning division.
“It was our plan to run all the time this year until they cut that Thunder & Lightning class out,” King explained in a recent telephone interview. “I’ve never really got to run a whole year yet. When they cut that class out, I had to take time to build this car. Now, hopefully we’ll be racing somewhere just about every week and even get to where we can do it a couple of nights a week once everything gets rolling.”
But King didn’t simply build himself a new Late Model machine. Earlier this year, he and his father entered into the business of building chassis’ for other drivers as well. Mark King, Chase’s dad, has enjoyed a very successful career as a short track racer that took him all the way to NASCAR at one point. Aside from being an accomplished racer, the elder King has vast experience in all aspects of the sport.
Now, the father and son have assumed control of one of east Tennessee’s most recognizable racing supply businesses and have set up shop in south Knoxville in a building located behind Valley Grove Baptist Church.
“We took over all of the J.T. Kerr stuff,” Chase King pointed out. “Everything was all set up with a whole customer base so we bought all the equipment, all the sheet metal stuff and the fabrication stuff. I wasn’t going to quit my previous job, but it kind of worked out that way so I just thought I’d take this stuff and run with it. Me and dad are partners in it and it’s all working out pretty good. We just finished another new car for Justin Summers.”
“The car that I won in is like what I’m building,” King added of the car in which he won at 411. “It’s still called Stinger Race Cars. We’re just going to call it Stinger by KCW(King Chassis Works). That was the fourth race on it. We’ve probably run it now a total of six times. I’m not just trying to blow smoke or anything, but that honestly is probably the best piece that I’ve ever been in.”
The younger King has already amassed an impressive resume as a chassis builder. He has worked with some of the sport’s most well known names, and has learned from each along the way.
“The past three years I worked for Bruce Nunnally,” King recounted of his past experience. “We were building Jimmy Owens’ modifieds for all three years. I worked for Scott Bloomquist for two years before that and I’m actually still building some of Scott’s stuff. That’s a definite plus, staying in the loop with him and getting to meet a bunch of cool people.”
King says that Bloomquist recently got his jig back that had been in the Michigan shop of Randy Sweet, who last year partnered with the Dirt Late Model legend to build the Sweet-Bloomquist Chassis. King says that he is currently building components for Bloomquist and is also doing some assembly work for him in his Mooresburg, Tenn. facility.
“We’re going to try to get a few new cars done,” King said of the Bloomquist operation. “Hopefully that will take off because he’s got that new car out. We’ve got five of those to build right now. I’ve been trying to go up there at least two days a week until we get those five cars done.”
King says that he never really intended to start building cars of his own, but he is excited for the opportunity.
“Dad initially got it for repairs and for building parts,” he explained of the late J.T. Kerr’s equipment. “Neither of us really even thought about building chassis’ until I left my other job. We had all this stuff here that we’d just bought, and there was some really good equipment with it. When that happened we just got the jig in here, got organized, and changed the car up a little bit to what I knew it should be. Now we’ve built two of them so far and we’ll hopefully be starting another one next week.”
As for his own racing, King plans to stick with Crate Late Models for now with an eye towards Limited Late Models or even Super Late Models sometime in the future. For now, he’s happy with the way things are going and hopes the recent trends can continue.
“It’s been about the best year I’ve had for the number of races we’ve run. We’ve got a pretty good little run going here. I wish we could’ve got a lot more in but that will come with time.”