SSHoF logoKen Achs

Builder (2022)

Drag Racing

Ken AchsKen Achs’s interest in drag racing began as a teenager in Saskatoon in the late 1950s with membership in the Draggins Rod and Custom Club. By the 1960s he was enmeshed in drag racing in Alberta when hitting 200 miles per hour in the quarter-mile was just being broken. At first, he raced a modified 1940 Ford. He then built and raced a C/gas dragster, which was the first dragster at Saskatoon’s Southwinds Dragway. Now known as Saskatchewan International Raceway, it is the longest running dragstrip in Western Canada.

In 1967 Ken raised the bar again by racing the first Top Fuel dragster in Saskatoon. Danger in the sport is not for the faint of heart. Combining a quest for speed with skilled driving, he piloted his nitromethane-fueled Top Fuel dragster to an elite class, becoming one of the first dragsters in Canada to go more than 200 miles per hour.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Ken was the only driver in Canada to hold Top Fuel and Funny Car licenses issued by the California-based NHRA, the premier sanctioning body in the world for drag racing. Ken was a crowd-favourite in Saskatoon and inspired automotive enthusiasts to become drag racers themselves. 

Ken garnered much success on the West Coast of the United States. In Seattle, Washington and Long Beach, California he raced against and became life-long friends with the best Top Fuel and Funny Car drivers in the world.

Ken was inducted into the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in Toronto as a driver in 2002. His fully-restored Top Fuel dragster was on display until it was loaned for exhibit at the new Drag Racing Hall of Fame in Montreal when he was inducted in 2016.

Ken’s dedication to drag racing and the automotive industry led to him owning and operating Saskatoon’s first speed shop on Broadway during the 1960s and ’70s. His Mid-West Group has operated for more than 60 years, the focus primarily on real estate development and leasing in Canada and the U.S.

Achs credits life lessons learned through sports and drag racing at the beginning of his business career for his achievements.