Illustration by: Steve Dorris
For a short time as an infant, Chris would only eat various forms of potatoes. Mashed, fried, hashed, etc., were all greedily gulped. Other offerings from Mom were thoroughly chewed but promptly ejected. As a result, he was dubbed "Spud" by his Dad.
Spud grew up attending Stock Car races at the local ¼ mile dirt track. He served as a pit crew helper for a couple of the racers and was enthralled with horsepower, competition, speed and excitement. With Summer farm jobs funding his efforts, he began to build his first engine at age 12. A Chevy man from day one, Spud began by building a 350 V-8 for a '57 Chevy given to him by his Dad. By age 15, the motor was running and terrorizing the back country roads of Monroe, Oregon. While experimenting with tunnel rams, big cams and multiple carbs, a friend introduced Spud to drag racing. Frequently through the early-eighties, the big white '57 could be found thundering down Woodburn Dragstrip. Although the '57 has since been sold, the engine lives on 32 years, 3 rebuilds, and many cams later in his nitrous-boosted '70 RS Camaro.
While attending school on a miniscule income, hot rodding was put on hold. Chris began to spend his spare time learning to play guitar. Many hours spent banging out Boston, AC/DC and Scorpions tunes on a cheap electric guitar helped him to become a proficient player very quickly. By the time he was out of college, bands like Censor, U-Turn, and Sudden Impact had Chris playing in bars all over the Northwest.
With a Manufacturing Technology degree, Chris enjoyed a 9 year career as a Mold/Model/Tool Maker and in 1993 became employed by Hewlett-Packard in Corvallis. He eventually became an Information Technology Solutions Specialist and worked specifically with 3D Computer Aided Design Software and other Computer Aided Engineering tools.
After learning to skydive, Chris decided that it would be more fun to fly the airplanes than jump out of them. He earned his pilots license and began exploring the Northwest from the air in OSU Flying Club aircraft.
Although weekend rock bands like Kickstart kept him busy, Spud began to grow weary of the bar scene. He once again longed for the cackle of open exhaust and the rush of many 100's of horsepower at the whim of his right foot. He decided to scale back his other hobbies and pursue racing seriously. Spud purchased an old slingshot front engine dragster, and completely refurbished it from top to bottom with the help of his friends. With just the body skin on the bare tubular chassis, the car looked exactly like a huge chili pepper sitting on the garage floor. The car was dubbed "One Hot Chili Pepper". Many upgrades, much traveling, and the introduction of NITROMETHANE thoroughly and hopelessy hooked Spud and his friends on nitro. All the adventures and exploits of The Chili Pepper and its crew are documented for your enjoyment at www.onehotchilipepper.com.
Spud's racing hobby started to keep him busy all evenings and weekends fiddling with flow benches and oscilloscopes. Soon he was working on other racer's fuel and ignition systems and Fuel Injection Enterprises was born out of his 3-car garage. Before long, he found himself with two full time jobs and not nearly enough sleep. The solution was obvious...it was time to leave corporate America behind and put all his energy into FIE.
Spud is a "homebody" and likes to spend time with his wife Shelley, two daughters, dog, llama, five cats, two goats, and four horses. He avoids television and would rather be working in the shop or tractoring around on their 90 acres between Corvallis and Albany, Oregon. He enjoys fishing and horseback riding in addition to racing.
As middle-age approaches, Spud has realized that some form of exercise will be necessary if he wants to continue squeezing into his racing fire suit. Although the actual form of torture has not yet been decided, it is likely that a program of jogging, interpretive water dance or nude coed volleyball will soon follow. Stay tuned.