LU student glorifies God through drag racing competition and breaks world record
Crisp November air mingled with exhaust and the scent of burning rubber as Kevin Helmick tore down the drag strip at more than 200 mph, breaking a world record. As of Nov. 4, Helmick, a digital media and journalism major, now owns the fastest Dodge Challenger Hellcat in the world, called GRMPYCAT.
Helmick competed in the 27th annual Haltech World Cup Finals Import vs. Domestic drag racing competition at the Maryland International Raceway Nov. 1-5. During a qualifying run for the Diablosport HEMI Outlaw class, Helmick completed a quarter mile at 6.69 seconds, unseating the previous record holder who traveled a quarter mile at 6.96 seconds.
To put this into perspective, a fast car can reach 60 mph in six seconds. GRMPYCAT can reach over 200 mph in the same amount of time.
“Catapulting off of an aircraft carrier is probably a little bit stronger than what we’re feeling, but not by much,” Helmick said in regard to how it feels to accelerate so quickly. “Our car is running 3,200 horsepower. … Most of your cars today are between 180 to 300.”
Though Helmick participated in drag racing and tinkered with cars when he was younger, he didn’t race much in his adult life and while he was serving in the Marine Corps. However, all that changed when Helmick got behind the wheel of his first Hellcat.
He immediately took a liking to the car and set out to have the fastest Hellcat in the world. When he first began racing, he found a list of all the fastest Hellcats and added GRMPYCAT to the bottom of it. Since then, he steadily climbed the ranks until he reached the No. 1 spot.
“I want it to be the best. I want it to be the fastest. I want it to be something that honors and glorifies (God),” Helmick said. “He’s provided all of the resources for me to be able to even build it, and so I want to take that and use that opportunity to testify to people that will probably otherwise never hear it.”
When Helmick first bought the car that would become GRMPYCAT, it weighed about 4,600 pounds and could hit about 700 horsepower. Helmick and his team decided to transform the car into a dedicated race car. After stripping it of all unnecessary features, down to the shell, the car weighed only 400 pounds. Helmick started rebuilding from there.
After making other modifications to the car such as altering the suspension and bolting in a new seat, GRMPYCAT weighed in at 2,600 pounds. Since his class in the Modern Street HEMI Shootout series requires the car to be at least 3,200 pounds, he and his team have to add weights for a typical race. However, during the World Cup Finals the extra weight was not required, which allowed GRMPYCAT to reach unmatched speeds.
Also contributing to GRMPYCAT’s recent success is the engine milled out of a solid block of aluminum, containing more than 3,200 horsepower. After breaking several other engines made of iron, Helmick made the switch to a stronger one that could handle his competing.
Painted on the side of Helmick’s Hellcat is the bold white print of the GRMPYCAT logo, surrounded by yellow flames. Under it reads “unchained” in a jagged font. Helmick decided to call his car GRMPYCAT after one of his employee’s wives suggested it due to his “grumpy nature,” but the word “unchained” is a pointer to God.
Helmick got the idea roughly four years ago when he attended a God’s Man Conference at his home church in New Bern, North Carolina, where a guest speaker read Psalm 51. The Psalm is King David’s confession to God, acknowledging his sin but also God’s ability to free him from his sins. Helmick hadn’t realized the burdens he’d been carrying from his own life, and so he laid his burdens at Jesus’ feet like King David did to become “unchained” from his sins.
“I put that on my car because I see my car as an opportunity to witness, to talk to other people about Christ,” Helmick said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just been asked by a race car driver, ‘What is the whole unchained thing?’ … You get a chance to give them that explanation, and you’re witnessing to somebody at the same time.”
Helmick and his team are currently building a new car called Seraphim, named after the most powerful angel. He seeks to counter the common demon theme and aesthetic in the racing world. Helmick has no doubt that this car will be much faster than GRMPYCAT.
“I have an opportunity that’s been given to me on a mission field that I don’t think really gets tapped into,” Helmick said. “So, what better way than to take advantage of where God’s put me? And as long as he continues to provide the resources and the desire to race, I’m going to continue. If that all goes away, I just thank him for the opportunity that he’s given me thus far. I’ll continue to witness no matter where I am, but I hope it’s at the drag strip.”
To keep up with GRMPYCAT, you can follow TC2 Motorsports, Helmick’s company, on Facebook.
Bear is the editor-in-chief for the Liberty Champion. Follow her on X