Chris Hein’s Iconic Rocky Mountain Race Week

Chris Hein and his Factory Five ’33 Hot Rod set a new record during Rocky Mountain Race Week with an impressive drag time of 8.53 seconds! Chris made this record-breaking run at Kearney Raceway in Nebraska and shared his excitement, saying, “second round I was able to make a clean pass, and I knew it was going to be FAST as I hit the rev limiter just as I crossed the stripe! I was rewarded with an 8.53 at 168MPH, a nearly perfect pass, considering my cage certification limit is 8.50.” The next day, Chris raced at Bandimere Speedway in Colorado and “first pass I lined up and made a clean hit with the same tune up as the day before, and when I got the time slip I was both excited and disappointed at the same time! 8.47 at 168MPH! The quickest and fastest the car has been yet, but TOO FAST for the cage, so I was unable to hand in that time slip.”

We’re thrilled to welcome Chris and his ‘33 Hot Rod to our booth at SEMA from October 31st to November 3rd. In true Chris Hein fashion, he’ll be driving to the show right after competing in the Death Week races starting in Phoenix, Arizona and crossing 2,000 miles of the most beautiful and extreme landscapes in the country.

Here’s Chris’s journey through Rocky Mountain Race Week this year from camper breakdowns to breaking records, building friendships, and securing wins!

The Journey Down

Our trip started when I met a couple of our buddies in Lethbridge, Alberta 2 days prior to the start of the event. The first day we travelled nearly 900 Miles in total, finally stopping in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The car was running well and had no issues up to that point. The second day started off well, but took a bit of a downhill turn when we hit a very large hump in the highway just north of Denver. I ended up blowing out an airbag on the camper, but thankfully I had a spare bag. I changed it on the side of the interstate but at that time I didn’t realize the extent of the damage. We continued our trip to Pueblo Colorado and once I got there, I blew another air bag. At that point I realized something was seriously wrong, but of course it was 10PM. I put out a Facebook post, and a local gentleman reached out and offered his shop and welder. I pulled the axle out of the trailer and made some repairs and reinforcements to the axle itself. I had it all back together thanks to his help and finally got some rest after the late night.

Day 1 – Pueblo Raceway

The First day of the event started with tech before we had a little bit of time to do some maintenance and get the car changed over to race mode. I pulled out the BBQ and started cooking up some burgers while the first few classes made their passes. During my first pass the hardtop started to lift off the car around half track as I neared 120MPH so I aborted the run and coasted to the finish line narrowly avoiding catastrophe. It turned out the nuts that hold the top down rattled loose during out 1150 mile drive down! I got them tight again and lined up for second round. Second pass I left the line strong, but around half track the car started getting loose, turns out one of the previous cars left some fluid down track! Race officials got everything cleaned up and on our third pass I finally got a clean hit, going 8.60 at 165MPH! I was happy with that pass so we got the car back into street trim and ready for the drive.

Day 2 – Drive from Pueblo, Colorado to Kearney, Nebraska.

Day two turned out to be a nice drive east through the Corn Fields of Nebraska as we had a full day to complete the 420 mile route. We travelled along the secondary highways going through small town America. We stopped at a small Mexican restaurant for my buddy’s “birthday” and they spoon fed him some ice cream while we sang happy birthday followed by a napkin to wipe his face that was actually full of whipped cream. It’s been a while since I laughed that hard. He was a little confused since his birthday isn’t until February.

Day 3 – Kearney Raceway

Day three started out with us getting to the racetrack early because racing started at 9 AM. We got the car turned over and lined up for the first pass. First rip down the track I broke loose at 400 Feet and rode the center line while coasting the rest of the track. The pressure was on as my closest competitor Bill Armstrong made a clean pass and was already getting ready to pack up. Second round I was able to make a clean pass and I knew it was going to be FAST as I hit the rev limiter just as I crossed the stripe! I was rewarded with an 8.53 at 168MPH, a near perfect pass as 8.50 is my cage certification limit. I was excited as I got back to the pits knowing that pass would keep me in first place in the stick shift class. We packed up the car as we cooked some burgers and smokies for the crew and got on the road for the 430 mile drive back to Bandimere Raceway. The drive went well other then a few missed turns along the way. We ended up running right down the middle of a late evening thunderstorm as we navigated the back roads around Denver. After nearly 120 miles of rain we arrived at our destination around midnight. A few of our competitors were not so lucky as there was one car hydroplane and hit the ditch causing minor damage and Bill ended up having valve-train failure which forced him out of competition.

Day 4 – The Iconic Bandimere Speedway

Day 4 started with some maintenance and a check over of the 33! Racing got started at 3PM which was really cool because we got to race under the lights deep into the evening. First pass I lined up and made a clean hit with the same tune up as the day before, and when I got the time slip I was both excited and disappointed at the same time! 8.47 at 168MPH! The quickest and fastest the car has been yet but TOO FAST for the cage, so I was unable to hand in that time slip. After taking some power out of the car we lined up under the lights for the second pass. 8.48 at 168MPH again too fast! I was getting nervous at that point because there was a hard 10PM curfew and I had nothing to hand in. I pulled even more power out and used my only Fast Pass to skip the line up. The 33 went straight and clean and rewarded me with a 8.60 at 165MPH. As I got back to the pits, I noticed a large puddle forming on the ground! The fuel tank had ruptured so we got the car into street mode quickly and made our way back to Bills house where I was able to remove the tank and weld up the cracked seam. Unfortunately, it was nearly 4AM before we got to bed!

Day 5 – Mountain Drive!

The drive through the Colorado Rockies might have been the most enjoyable day! We only needed to make it approximately 85 miles through the windy backcountry roads. There were a lot of race cars that had issues with the high elevations and long steep grades, but with the trailer in tow the 33 was right at home handling the curves like it were on rails! I even had the pleasure of traveling with another Factory Five 33 owned by Bill Leak! After we got back to my buddies cabin, we had a nice middle of the week gathering with a bunch of our fellow race weekers!

Day 6 – Bandimere’s Final Chapter

I couldn’t help but feel a little sad as we crested the hill and stopped to take a couple pictures at the entrance sign! This will be the last time I get to race this world class track as its scheduled to close down and be demolished at the end of the season. We got the car back into race mode and lined up for the first pass. The 33 left well, but I missed my 2-3 shift and ended up running 9.1 something. The pass was good enough to secure the first place finish over my traveling companion Richard Guido in his beautiful black GTO, but I wanted to finish the week with an 8.xx at every track. I lined up for pass number two and the 33 drove straight and clean! I pulled the chute at 168MPH as I crossed the finish line for the last time at this iconic racetrack in the clouds! Another 8.48 that was too fast to hand in, but I didn’t want to beat up on the car anymore as second place couldn’t catch me at that point! We got the car back into street trim and I took Raeann out for dinner as we finally had enough time to enjoy the local restaurants.

Day 7 – Pueblo Raceway!

We started the drive with a scenic 185 mile route through the backcountry on our way back to where it all started! All I needed to do was cross the finish line to secure the Stick Shift win! The Final day consisted of a shoot out and bracket race. I was the 10th fastest car on the property so I was invited to do the heads up shoot out! Unfortunately, I ended up turning the power up so much I hit a preset safety that I programmed into the car at half track, so my competitor took the W and moved onto the next round. At the end of the track I ran out of pump gas and I thought I hurt the motor when it didn’t want to start again. A borrowed can of fuel and a quick check up with the laptop —all was good! The awards were awesome, and I can’t thank Matt and June enough for putting on this amazing event!

Home — The Final Stretch

The next morning, we loaded up bright and early and hit the road with my fellow competitor Richard Guido. Its not easy keeping up with a legend like him! We had 80MPH interstate most of the way home and travelled a few clicks over most of the time, who knew a 33 could pull 2500Lbs of camper at over 80 MPH?! we almost made it trouble free until the ball hitch decided it had enough and the nut exited stage right. Thankfully the safety chains did there job and kept the camper behind the car although it did leave a new battle wound on the fiberglass. Rich made a facebook post and an old Race Week friend came to the rescue with a new hitch. We made it home just after 1 Am, completing the entire 1150 mile drive in just one day! Not bad for a pair of 8 second stick shift street cars!

 And to think, this is the cliff notes version!


Chris Hein 33″