Drag Illustrated Issue 179, November / December 2022 - Page 87



■ TRAVIS KISSINGER ’ S passion for drag racing and the automotive industry was instilled at a young age . He grew up working on cars with his dad and going to local racetracks with his family . As Kissinger grew older , he knew he wanted to go from the sidelines to driving his race car .
However , it wasn ’ t without trial and tribulation Kissinger had to face head-on from the start . He was born with a rare medical condition called “ Proteus Syndrome ,” which affects how certain body parts grow . Doctors said that Kissinger would never walk because of this disability , which left him with deformed and larger-than-normal feet .
Kissinger didn ’ t let his disability stop him and used his prognosis to prove everyone wrong . Through his faith in God , he learned how to walk and eventually how to drive a race car . “ I honestly didn ’ t think I ’ d be drag racing ,” Kissinger says .
“ I was always into cars and loved Chevy Camaros ,” he continues . “ My first car was an ‘ 87 Monte Carlo that my dad built for me . Eventually , I got my car – a ‘ 99 Camaro that was my daily driver – I drove it back and forth to work . It has always been my favorite car .”
During the winter of 2020 , Kissinger and his dad turned his daily driver , “ Frostty ,” into a race car to pursue his racing dreams . He then began his racing career in 2021 and hasn ’ t looked back .
During Kissinger ’ s rookie year , he notched six wins and four runner-ups , propelling him to win the Sportsman track championship at Motor Mile Dragway in Radford , Virginia . Additionally , he finished fourth in the points at Elk Creek Dragway and was the Sportsman champion for the Southwest Virginia Coalition . Kissinger ’ s success qualified him for the IHRA World Finals , where he finished in the top 10 in the world in the Sportsman class .
Kissinger rode his wave of success throughout the 2022 season as well . He raced to three wins and some runner-up finishes , earning him the Sportsman track championship for the second year in a row . Kissinger punched his ticket to the IHRA World Finals again , where he finished fourth in the nation in his class .
The 29-year-old is on the hunt for a solid 2023 season and plans on building a new race car to drive . Part of his plan is to compete in some Footbrake races on the East Coast , including the World Footbrake Challenge at Bristol Dragway .
“ My goal next year is to win another track championship , which is very hard because of the competition ,” Kissinger said . “ Another goal is to win that world championship .”
When Kissinger isn ’ t on the track , he combines his love for drag racing and marketing to help small businesses . Additionally , he wants to be a standout role model , both off and on the track .
“ I want to be a role model for the younger generations , especially those with disabilities ,” says Kissinger . “ I want to be there for those people , and I want to be a positive figure in my community .”
Kissinger ’ s last bit of advice is , “ Always be yourself and never sell yourself short . You can always do what you set your mind to , even if it might be different from somebody else ’ s . Anything is possible .” – KAYLA ZADEL DI
November / December 2022 DragIllustrated . com | Drag Illustrated | 87