Saskatoon businessman Ken Achs started racing in 1962 in Calgary at the wheel of a 1940 Ford Coupe with a Buick motor. Two years later, he opened Mid-West Automotive in Saskatoon and built a Chevv-powered C-class dragster. This was the first car to go down the newly-constructed Saskatoon International Raceway in 1966. Ken also raced his car at Bison Raceway in Winnipeg as well as at Calgary and Edmonton.
In 1967, he bought a Top Fuel car from Ed Norton of Seattle. This was the first Top Fuel car in Saskatchewan and he won virtually every race he entered across the prairies that year, competing against U.S. drivers. In 1968, he upgraded to a brand-new Top Fuel car, which he ran for three years, sweeping every race he entered in Canada. He set the low elapsed time and top miles-per-hour marks at the Canadian Nationals in 1968.
In 1971, Ken switched to Funny Cars and continued his success. He won races and championships across the prairies as well as in California, Washington and Oregon. He was the only Canadian competitor to hold both NHRA Top Fuel and Funny Car licences in 1971. Due to the demands of business, Ken sold all of his racing equipment in 1973. When asked, he said he did not consider himself a world-class drag racer but rather a fortunate fan who happened to live at a time when going 200 mph was an attainable dream. When asked, Ken graciously tracked down and restored his 1967 Top Fuel dragster and donated it in 2002 to the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame where it is on permanent display.
Image by Richard Wood via Bison Dragways