Krista Baldwin Takes the Reins of Pat Dakin’s Top Fuel Team, Gears Up for WinterNationals Debut with a Fresh Look

Krista Baldwin, a third-generation Top Fuel pilot and team owner, has made a significant move by acquiring the Top Fuel operation from seasoned racer Pat Dakin. Baldwin is set to make her debut for the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods season at this weekend’s Lucas Oil WinterNationals in Pomona, CA. Sporting a striking new color scheme of black, red, sparkle silver, and a touch of cheetah print, Baldwin is eager to rev up her engines with her revamped team, led by crew chief Scott Graham. The team is thrilled to welcome aboard AB&I Foundry, Zurn, Elkay, Fire Safe Group, and Zoeller as marketing partners for the WinterNationals.

“I’ve been vocal about needing to take the next step in my driving career for about a year now,” says Baldwin. “When this opportunity came up during the off-season, I knew I couldn’t pass it up. It’s not just about getting a new chassis for the season; it’s about securing a complete package that can consistently deliver 3.7-second runs. You can’t expect to win in NHRA drag racing with a 3.8-second car. It’s just not feasible. So, I’m forging a path for myself to place right in the thick of the competition.”

Observing the fierce competition during testing in Gainesville, Baldwin is well aware that the Top Fuel battles will be intense in the 2024 season. However, armed with the right car, operation, and crew, she’s confident she can thrill the fans and secure some wins for her sponsors.

“This season, Top Fuel is going to be incredibly competitive. But I truly believe I have what it takes to succeed in this class. Scott Graham will provide me with a car that can win races. Now, the hard part falls on me as the driver to nail killer reaction times and make smart decisions on the track. Ultimately, I need to make split-second decisions as both a driver and a team owner.”

Currently, Baldwin stands as the sole female owner and driver of a Top Fuel dragster. She remains determined to ensure her presence in the drag racing world is as enduring as her grandfather’s.

“My grandpa raced Top Fuel dragsters for over 70 years. It’s safe to say I’m here for the long haul, and I intend to savor every moment of it. As Sinatra sang, ‘I did it my way,’ and I’m determined to do it my way to propel not just myself but also the sport and my sponsors into the future.”

In addition to the striking new look of her car, Baldwin is proud to announce a lineup of new partners for her program. Companies like Red Line Oil, Justice Brothers, DENSO, Powerbuilt Tools, and Hoosier Trainer are among those supporting Baldwin’s quest to hit the 3.7-second mark in 2024.

“I’m thrilled to return to Pomona, my hometown. It’s where I grew up and where I learned the ropes to become the person I am today. I’m excited to unveil the fresh look of my dragster, which complements my teammate Paul Lee’s McLeod funny car. I believe our sponsors will appreciate seeing their brands on both cars this weekend.”

Baldwin’s first run in her new car is scheduled for Friday night during the initial qualifying session. To catch all the action, be sure to follow @KristaBaldwinRacing on social media channels.


1 Comment on Krista Baldwin Takes the Reins of Pat Dakin’s Top Fuel Team, Gears Up for WinterNationals Debut with a Fresh Look

  1. I’m the ‘first’???
    Good heavens people!

    Congratulations Krista, this is an amazing accomplishment!
    I wish you the best of luck and be safe!

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