Warren's Former Top Fuel Driver to be Honored at National Drag Racing Event

Former Top Fuel Gatornationals champion heads down to national drag racing event in Florida to be honored as a featured guest.

Warren has a well-kept secret, and his name is Jimmy King. In the 60s and 70s, King and the late Don Marshall made up one of the best Top Fuel drag racing teams in New England. Together, they made a name for King & Marshall in NHRA history and 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of King & Marshall’s big win at the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida in 1971.

Today, King is a mechanic at King James Garage in Warren. Since the end of his racing career, King has passed the glove and Top Fuel Dragster on to current owner and driver, Ray Helger of Little Compton. In an honorary memorial for the late Don Marshall and in celebration of the 40th anniversary of their 1971 victory, King will be joined by Helger and his crew March 11-13 as featured guests to the 2011 Gatornationals event.

The nostalgic dragster, a 1968 Don Long chassis, reaches 232 mph and has a best time of 6.43 ET on the strip.  A well-crafted looker, the car’s tin work was done by Tom Hanna with paint done by Cerney.

King, the current team crew chief, along with the Helger Bros. Racing crew have been battling the frigid winter weather to get the dragster ready for the long tow south to Gainesville Raceway.

“We’re very excited,” said Helger. “Getting out of all of this ice is going to be the tough part, but this is a very important event. Not only is it an important milestone to the team, but also for Jimmy, the car and to honor the life of Don Marshall.”

Following the Gator Nationals, King and Helger will kick off the drag racing season in May at New England Dragway for the Northeast Nostalgic Classic, followed by a trip to Bowling Green, Kentucky for the NHRA Hotrod Reunion and many other planned races in New England.

Butch Lombardi March 05, 2011 at 01:49 PM
Jimmy King made it to the top of his sport in drag racing and became a sports legend in RI and and New England. Yet for the bulk of the people who live in the East Bay and drive by his garage every day they are totally unaware of what he accomplished. Jim and Donny Marshall were two guys who loved cars and making them go fast. They achieved their success, not with big corporate sponsors and high paid mechanics, but with their own talent and ability. They richly deserve this award because what they accomplished was done in a little garage in the East Bay with a small budget and a wealth of mechanical and driving ability. Thanks for posting this. It needs to be brought to the attention of the whole state.
John P. Saviano March 06, 2011 at 05:39 PM
I have known Jimmy King for 52 years. Jimmy is one of our Warrenites who was a role model for plenty of us who were a few years younger at Warren High School on Main St! Jimmy has always worked hard at everything he does & HE DOES IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME! He bought the Cristaudo Produce Company Garage many, many years ago & he & his son have helped thousands of customers with expert repairs at very reasonable prices! When I started my Toyota Dealership in 1962 in Bristol, if my Service Dept. couldn't solve a complicated problem, they sent it to Jimmy & he took care of it PRONTO! Jimmy's the best around & is up to any challenge! I wish him the Best! John Saviano
Denny Souza March 07, 2011 at 02:42 PM
Denny Souza As the owner of a former auto repair business in Warren, I also can attest that James King of J.K.'s Automotive in Warren is positively the best to be associated with in the trade. He is always willing to share his knowledge, expertise and input with his fellow tradesmen. He is also highly respected by a large volume of friends he has acquired through out the years. He is a world of knowledge. Jimmy, Penny and Greg will always have my utmost respect. The Helger family has also been known with the same respect and generosity. Ray seniors is the absolute place to go for "old, older and older then old" car parts. ( The House of a Billion Parts. ) To the late Don Marshall, the "Gentlemen", may you ride with the speed you so loved on your Harley. I wish them all "Happy Drags". Squiggy's Uncle Denny


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