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.