Fountain of youth for 83-year-old drag racer: 300-plus mph

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When 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force turned 65 this past May, many wondered if drag racing’s greatest senior citizen might start slowing down.

While Force insists he’ll drive for at least another five seasons, he has nothing, nada, zero on Chris Karamesines.

Known as “The Golden Greek,” Karamesines is still driving the most potent car in drag racing – a 10,000-horsepower Top Fuel dragster capable of hitting 330 mph – and he just took delivery on a state-of-the-art new ride.

At the age of 83!

In fact, Karamesines is so pumped about his new canopy-covered Top Fueler, built by legendary Don Schumacher Racing, that he’s already making plans to keep racing for a long time still to come.

“The car Schumacher put together for me is beautiful,” Karamesines told Rod Geiger of Autoweek.com. “It’ll give me another 10 years. With that kind of car and [sponsor] Lucas Oil helping me, it makes it nicer to drive.”

Born in Detroit in 1931, Karamesines turned 83 on Nov. 11. He’s without question the oldest active competitor in the sport today, according to the NHRA.

And he’s been competing on drag strips around the country for – get this – since the 1950s.

That’s nearly 70 years!

And along the way, he became the first driver (unofficially) to break the 200-mph barrier (204.54 mph), back in 1960 at Alton Dragway in Illinois, according to NHRA annals.

Karamesines in 2001 was named No. 30 of the 50 greatest drivers in NHRA history and was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2006.

He continues racing part-time, as well as remains in pursuit of a lifelong dream of winning an NHRA national event. With his new ride from Schumacher, Karamesines’ chances just increased exponentially.

That’s not to say the Golden Greek has never won a race in his lengthy racing career.

On the contrary.

Not only has he been one of the most prolific and successful match racers in the country over the years, he’s also won numerous events in other racing series including the International Hot Rod Association, the American Drag Racing Association and the American Hot Rod Association.

With what is essentially a lifetime sponsorship from Lucas Oil, Karamesines can’t wait for the 2015 season to begin in early February in Pomona, Calif.

Said Karamesines, “With Lucas Oil giving us the funding and [DSR] giving me a nice car, why would I stop?”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski