Street racing might not be the easiest or safest hobby, but it’s definitely one of the most exciting. As seen in the many seasons of “Street Outlaws” and its spin-offs, there’s nothing more thrilling than running a fast car and competing against others, even if that means putting one’s life at risk.
While accidents are inherently included in the street racing experience, it never ceases to amaze the audience how easily a car can be destroyed in a crash, as happened to Chris ‘Kamikaze’ and his mythical Elco.
So what is going on with Chris’ after his most recent crash? And could his recent absence from the show be related to his mishaps at the wheel? Stay here to know all about it!
What Is He Doing Now?
After so many years on air, viewers of “Street Outlaws” have grown used to seeing the escapades of their favorite racers on TV, accompanying them through their highs and lows. That’s why fans inevitably worried once they noticed Chris ‘Kamikaze’ Day was absent from recent “Street Outlaws” seasons, without much of an explanation.
Though his disappearances from the show could have led everyone to think he’d been fired from it, that’s not true. As Chris revealed on his Facebook page in July 2023, that he won’t be appearing in the then-airing sixth season of “No Prep Kings”, but will still appear in some other “Street Outlaws” spin-offs, though he didn’t reveal the reason behind his absence.
While many rumors suggested out that Chris might have retired from racing, this wasn’t true. For a start, Chris keeps active in the local Oklahoma racing scene, and also participates regularly in No Prep competitions around the country. It’s also worth noting that Chris drives his C5 Corvette these days, as his Chevrolet El Camino, also known as ‘Elco’, was left ruined after its last drag adventure resulted in a crash in mid-2020.
All in all, we still have lots to see of Kamikaze Chris in “Street Outlaws”.
What Happened To The Elco?
Accidents are bound to happen, whether people race on the streets or on a professional track. Though most of the time these accidents don’t result in more than a scare, once in a while they turn into more than a couple of broken bones and one unfixable car.
The latter was exactly what happened to Kamikaze Chris and his Elco, a 1981 Chevrolet El Camino he crashed while filming “Street Outlaws” in July 2020. The incident was more than a simple wreck though, as it left his car completely unfixable, with only some parts such as the parachute lever, shifter and rear housing as salvageable.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel KamiKaze Life, Chris recalled how on the day the crash took place, the Elco had been experiencing issues with its driveshaft sensor. That was a reason good enough for Kamikaze not to want to race on that day, but once another driver dared him on the streets, Chris couldn’t help but jump in the Elco for a race.
The consequences of having the Elco destroyed include losing money, and uncountable hours of hard work, but it was also an emotional hit for Kamikaze, as it was the car he appreciated the most.
The Story Behind The Elco
While many people remember the Elco as the impressive, fast, and imposing car which once belonged to Kamikaze Chris, the most loyal “Street Outlaw” fans surely know that its story goes far beyond that.
As seen in the earliest seasons of the show, the Elco used to be called ‘The Slut’ and belonged to Justin ‘Big Chief’ Shearer, who more often than not let Tyler ‘Flip’ Priddy borrow to race it. Back in those days, this Chevrolet El Camino was built out of discarded parts from other cars, but that didn’t stop it from gaining a winning streak, and a good reputation.
Unfortunately, Flip died in a domestic accident after filming the first season of “Street Outlaws” in 2013. It was then that Big Chief offered it to Kamikaze Chris, who didn’t hesitate to buy it, and turn it back into shape in honor of their late friend.
From then on, the now-Elco ran the streets with Chris at the wheel for years without any hassle, until it was destroyed in 2020. As Chris admitted to “Street Outlaws” cameras right after the crash, the Elco was everything he’d had in his whole life,’ which makes his emotional outburst at the time all the more understandable.
— No Prep Nation (@NoPrepNation) December 8, 2016
What Is Chris’ Story?
While the stories portrayed in reality TV should be taken with a grain of salt, the underdog reputation of Kamikaze Chris in “Street Outlaws’ is one of those things which are more than real when cameras are off. Coming from an underprivileged Oklahoman family, Chris Day learned the meaning of working hard from an early age.
As he recalled during a 2018 interview with DragZine, the things which stood out for Chris from his childhood included having no money, except for what was deemed as necessary and working at everything from mowing grass to pumping gas, eventually saving enough to buy a BMX bike, at a time when he had already discovered his strong-willed his competitive side.
Back in his high-school years, Kamikaze and Justin ‘Big Chief’ Shearer met for the first time, and bonded over their competitive streak and love for cars. It was also Kamikaze who spent lots of hours working on Big Chief’s 1972 Pontiac LeMans known as the Crow. Soon it was time for Kamikaze to buy his first car, a small-block Chevrolet LUV truck, later replaced by many others.
At some point, racing became an important part of his life, and the thing which gained Chris his ‘Kamikaze’ nickname, due to his fearless habits at the wheel.
Rise To Fame & Struggles
As with many of his fellow co-stars from “Street Outlaws”, Kamikaze Chris found his path in life at the wheel of a fast car at a very early age. As he admitted in an interview with DragZine, what he feels when he’s running is something he doesn’t have anywhere else: ‘I’m the calmest and happiest when I’m this close to putting myself in the ground somewhere. So I’ll push it… that’s the part I like!’, he said.
Though Chris’ passion has taken him far, it has also been a struggle to keep up with it. Even after becoming a reality TV star thanks to “Street Outlaws”, Chris kept working as an air conditioner contractor. This job allows him to make a living, but also to pursue the several repairs and modifications his racing cars need, though not to their fullest. As he admitted in the same interview, the costs of racing have left him ‘dirt-broke poor’ at times since the show’s beginning, but his competitive streak and thirst for victory had kept him going, regardless of the struggles.
Chris’ stubbornness and relentless search for adrenaline are what keep him on the road, making him quite an inspiring and memorable “Street Outlaws” driver.
New Car & The Future
Although the loss of the legendary Elco in 2020 was a strong hit for Kamikaze Chris, that didn’t mean the end of his racing escapades. Right after setting things back in order, Chris put what used to be the Elco’s wheel, a brake rotor, and a tire up for auction online, to fund his next car project, getting over $20,000 from those sales.
Though normally the parts of a crashed car wouldn’t attract too many people, the pieces auctioned by Chris were well appreciated by “Street Outlaws” fans, for the simple fact these were autographed by him and were once part of his Elco. It only took him a week to get over 100, eventually helping him put a C5 Corvette into racing shape.
This new car reminisced the Elco for its sinister appearance and shiny black paint job, also containing some of its parts, such as the transmission, engine, and drivetrain which were luckily recovered and repaired by Chris.
Chris has also made good use of his TV popularity to start other projects. There’s his Kamikaze Motorsports online shop, which lists a wide variety of merchandise and diecasts of the Elco for sale, and his YouTube channel Kamikaze Life, which shares on-road shenanigans and tidbits of Chris’ life, impressively attracting over 70,000 subscribers since its launch in 2020.
Everything points to Kamikaze Chris still having lots of amazing things to do on the road, and off it.