Hot rod hotshot back on Woodburn Dragstrip after race against cancer

A former High School Spotlight kid just won the biggest battle of his life before returning to the Woodburn drag strip during their ‘Night of Fire’ racing.
Published: Jul. 29, 2023 at 6:02 PM PDT|Updated: Jul. 29, 2023 at 7:48 PM PDT
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WOODBURN, Ore. (KPTV) - A former High School Spotlight kid just won the biggest battle of his life before returning to the Woodburn Dragstrip during their “Night of Fire” racing.

You can’t contain the joy on Cooper Chun’s face when it comes to letting it rip an eighth of a mile at a time. The 19-year-old from Vancouver, Wash. is beyond ready to hammer down in 900-horsepower electronic super-pro dragster.

“I struggled a lot at first, getting back in the car, driving different,” Chun says.

SEE ALSO: Washougal motocross rider making first pro appearance at home track

The Class of 2022 graduate of Vancouver’s Skyview is one of the top teen drivers in the Northwest. He’ll start school at Clark College this fall after an unexpected gap year in life.

“It’s pretty surreal because I sat home for eight months being in a bed, couldn’t walk because it was non-weight bearing,” Chun says.

This summer has been so freeing after Chun spent much of this past year bed-ridden while receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatments to kill a grapefruit-sized tumor on his right pelvis.

“Very early on I learned that being down about it and being sad about it, obviously a few days of that, like a week or two weeks, whatever but that was not going to help my situation,” Chun says. “It was only going to help go at it head-first.”

Chun’s fight is with Ewing’s sarcoma, an extremely rare childhood cancer. On July 18, Chun was told he was in remission.

“It makes me feel really good that I was able to go through it and come back, I am not 100% yet but just being back out here and hanging with everyone racing.”

Racing is living.

“Having to re-learn how to do everything and losing all my muscle and having to build that back is probably the hardest part.”

Physical therapy is a wonder, and another scan is due in four months.

SEE ALSO: Drag racing is family affair for Woodburn world champ

Chun is thankful for all the love and support by his extended family in the drag racing community.

“I don’t know if I could have done it without all of you guys,” Chun says. “It’s just great to see how many people are behind me, how many stickers I saw. It was a little weird the first time at the racetrack and saw all these stickers and stuff people had on their cars with my name, it was a little weird but, it is cool.”

It’s always good to catch up with a High School Spotlight kid post-high school. And now living a long and healthy life with Cooper Chun.

Always a great time to be at the Woodburn Dragstrip where the Hot Rod Nationals are on the agenda next weekend.