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Krista Baldwin acquires Pat Dakin’s Top Fuel team; heads to Pomona with new look

Third-generation Top Fuel pilot and team owner Krista Baldwin has acquired the Top Fuel operation previously owned by veteran racer Pat Dakin.
19 Mar 2024
Posted by NHRA.com staff
Krista Baldwin

Third-generation Top Fuel pilot and team owner Krista Baldwin has acquired the Top Fuel operation previously owned by veteran racer Pat Dakin. Baldwin will make her first appearance of the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season at this weekend’s Lucas Oil NHRA WinterNationals in Pomona.

Baldwin’s car will debut in Pomona with a fresh look of black, red, sparkle silver, and her signature cheetah pattern. Baldwin’s new team will be led by crew chief Scott Graham and will be backed by AB&I Foundry, Zurn, Elkay, Fire Safe Group, and Zoeller as marketing partners for Pomona.
“I have been saying it for about a year now, that I needed to make the next step in my driving career,” said Baldwin. “This opportunity presented itself over the offseason, and I couldn’t say no. This was more than buying a new chassis for the season. This is buying a complete package to be consistently in the 3.7-second range. You cannot go to a NHRA drag race and expect to win with a 3.8-second car. It’s impossible. So, now I’m creating a path for myself to propel me straight into the middle of the competition.”
Baldwin realized during testing and the season-opening Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals that the Top Fuel competition will be fierce in 2024, but she believes that with the right car, the right operation, and the right crew, she can turn on some win lights and put on a show for the fans.
“This year, Top Fuel is going to be cutthroat. I believe that I have everything it takes to be successful in this class,” Baldwin said. “Scott Graham will give me a car that will win races. Now, the hard part is up to me as the driver to cut killer reaction times and be smart going down the track. At the end of the day, I still need to make the right split-second decisions on track as a driver and team owner.”
Baldwin is the only woman to currently own and drive a Top Fuel dragster. She will continue to hustle to make sure that her tenure in the sport of drag racing is as long as her grandfather’s.
“My grandpa [Chris “the Greek” Karamesines] drove Top Fuel dragsters for over 70 years. Safe to say that I am going to be here for a long time, and I’m going to enjoy every second of it,’” Baldwin said. “Just how Sinatra sang it, ‘I did it my way,’ and I’m going to do it my way to propel the sport, my marketing partners, and myself into the future.”
In addition to a new scheme on the car, Baldwin welcomes a slew of new partners for her program, including Red Line Oil, Justice Brothers, Denso, Powerbuilt Tools, and Hoosier Trainer are among some of the companies that support Baldwin in her effort to 3.7’s for 2024.
“I love heading home to Pomona. It’s where I grew up and where I learned to be the person I am today. I’m excited to share the new look of the dragster to match teammate Paul Lee’s McLeod Funny Car. I think our partners will enjoy seeing their brands on both cars this weekend.”
Baldwin’s first hit in her new car will be Friday night for the first session of qualifying. To follow the action, be sure to follow @KristaBaldwinRacing on the social media channels.