Chris Morris on a Hot Streak in 2019

By Phil Whipple. RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer. Photo By: Rachel Plant 

TAYLOR, Texas — Take one glance at the Modified fields in southern and central Texas, and you'll see a depth of talent unsurpassed by most classes across the deep south. From seasoned veterans to rising stars, the popular open-wheel division has it all. It can be pretty tough to make any serious impact.

Just don't tell that to 24-year-old Chris Morris, who drives the No. 94 entry with blistering speed and impressive consistency every Friday and Saturday night. The young talent and former motocross racer from Taylor is enjoying a stellar season, with four wins, 13 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes in 31 starts.

“We ended up getting a new car this year,” Morris said. “We got a Lethal Chassis from David Stremme, and the support that I get from him is just amazing. The quality of car that he builds has really helped our program. Having confidence is huge in anything you do, and I've gained a ton of it with this car.

“Even when I miss the setup by a little, this car is going to be fast. I can make small adjustments to my driving style and still salvage a good run. This new car has done wonders for us in many ways.”

Racers and even avid fans know this sport is all about momentum, just like some race tracks. Once you hit your stride, staying up front and not falling off the radar becomes the challenge.

“I feel like we've carried that positive momentum we built in the spring forward into summer,” Morris added. “The tracks are starting to dry out, which suits my driving style a little more. I feel like I'm pretty smooth on a dry surface, so we're looking forward to the rest of summer.

“Even looking at some of the big shows that take place in the fall, I think if we can keep up this pace through July and August, we'll be competitive for those, as well. I'm hoping we peak at the right time.”

What makes this strong performance on-track even more impressive is the fact that Morris goes from a wheelchair to his race car each night. He's been paralyzed since Oct. 26, 2014, as a result of motocross accident, yet once he climbs into that Modified and tightens those belts – he's just like every other driver out there.

“Growing up racing motocross for 16 years, I was used to having good hand-eye coordination,” Morris explained. “So when I moved over to driving with my hands on a steering wheel, it was kind of second nature to me. I picked up on it really fast. I just love to race, and now it's with four wheels.”

Morris sees his racing program much like any other racer. Work on the car, race, wash, rinse and repeat.

“I guess the only real challenge was figuring out how we were going to design and fabricate the controls,” Morris said. “That was the biggest challenge in my transition. We made a flap that opens up so I can get into the car easier. Once I crawl in and tighten those belts, I'm all ready to go.”

Once he got familiar with the layout, it was off and running for Morris. And running fast, as well.

“After I got used to the controls and how things worked, it became second nature. If you put somebody else in my car, they'd probably think how in the world does he race this thing. But it works well for me. I can take on the competition with the same level of confidence any other winning driver carries.”

Now in his third year of auto racing, Morris claimed his first victory on four wheels in early April at I-37 Speedway in Pleasanton. Shortly after that win, he told Speed51.com's Zach Evans “when I took the checkered flag, it was like a wave of relief came over me.”

Typical of several teams in short track racing, the Morris program is supported primarily by family.

“My parents, Nick and Lisa, do a lot for my race team and I can't thank them enough,” Morris said. “They go the extra mile for me and I appreciate all of it. My sister, Allison, is also a key part of this team and I couldn't do it without her. My family has supported me completely since day one.”

Along with that supportive family, Morris also has a nice group of marketing partners who make his efforts possible and allow him to be more competitive.

“We're blessed to have some great folks behind our race team who care, including ACM Services, AMT Concrete, Austin Cutting & Coring, Tina Reagan Realty, Opifex Equipment, Truform Racing Products, Five Star Concrete, Eightfold Development, Volvo of Austin, Lethal Chassis and Bet All Racing. We couldn't do what we do without them."

With roughly half the 2019 season now in the books, Morris focuses on the races ahead and his goals for the balance of summer. Not one to chase points, the modern-day poster boy for short track success has other plans on his mind.

“We don't really concern ourselves with where we are in the points chase at any of the tracks,” Morris said. “We pretty much take it one race and weekend at a time, go out and try for the victory and let it shake out as it may. I'd like to think we could get 10 wins this year, if I get one more I'll be halfway.

“I'm not trying to sound greedy, but the car is strong and my confidence level is high. We'll just keep doing what we've been doing since the season started, and that has been working out for us. I'll never take wins for granted; they are very special and I savor each one. I hope we can continue this streak.”

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