NHRA Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson and KB Racing set to defend title. Pomona, Calif. - Defending National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Pro Stock Champion Greg Anderson and Ken Black's KB Racing are set to defend their title at the NHRA's 44th...
NHRA Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson and KB Racing set to defend title.
Pomona, Calif. - Defending National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Pro Stock Champion Greg Anderson and Ken Black's KB Racing are set to defend their title at the NHRA's 44th Annual Winternationals, to be held February 19- 22 at the Pomona Raceway in Pomona, Calif.
Building on Success
The biggest issue facing the KB team during the short off-season was, indeed, an enviable one; how can the team better their historic performance of last season? The team's 2003 NHRA Powerade Pro Stock season performance can be summed up in a few words-historic, record setting, class dominance.
Flashback to last year's Winternationals. Greg Anderson says the team struggled trying to qualify his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am, ending up a disappointing ninth at last years event. "We weren't real organized early on and had limited testing and in fact, had made just one pull on our new engine dynamometer prior to Pomona," said the 43- year-old Anderson.
But, the season quickly improved with Greg qualifying with an overall average position of 1.80 for the entire season. His other achievements for the 2003 season include:
Greg raced his team's Pontiac Grand Am into the finals 15 times winning an historic 12 NHRA Pro Stock Powerade Events, eclipsing the previous record of 11.
Greg broke another long standing NHRA mark by accumulating a record 67 round wins in a single season, a record formerly held by NHRA Funny Car legend John Force with 65.
Anderson rocketed his Pontiac Grand Am to a 6.67 elapsed time at 207.18 MPH, NHRA Pro Stock Records that may be unbreakable this season.
The KB Racing Story
The NHRA Pro Stock class is arguably the most fiercely contested pro category in drag racing, with most events seeing a dozen or more competitors head home after failing to make the stout 16-car fields.
In a class where qualifying is an achievement in itself, the majority of Pro Stock competitors are just relieved to make the field. Although qualifying at last year's Pomona event was a challenge, eliminations proved to be slightly more rewarding as Greg worked his way into the semi- finals suffering defeat at the hands of eventual event runner-up Allen Johnson, driving a Dodge Stratus.
By the second NHRA event in Phoenix, the team qualified their Pontiac Grand Am in the third spot and defeated Troy Coughlin in the final. Unaware of it at the time, the KB Racing Team and Greg Anderson's performance was an ominous forewarning to his fellow competitors; a harbinger of things to come.
During the remaining 21 NHRA events the team would qualify number 1 on 14 different occasions. While Greg placed his team's Pontiac Grand Am into the finals 15 times winning an historic 12 NHRA Pro Stock Powerade events, outpacing the previous record of 11 held by Darrell Alderman.
Greg also broke another long standing NHRA mark by accumulating a record 67 round wins in a single season, eclipsing a record formerly held by NHRA Funny Car legend John Force with 65.
While most competitors would be happy with a couple of event wins, let alone 12, Ken Black's KB Racing team wasn't finished yet. At the K & N SuperNationals in Englishtown, New Jersey, uncharacteristically cold weather conditions set the stage for a another record breaking performance. The KB Racing team bettered the existing NHRA Pro Stock national record twice on Saturday, and twice again during Sunday's eliminations. Greg executed the perfect pass, obliterating the existing NHRA Pro Stock record as he rocketed his Pontiac Grand Am to a 6.67 Elapsed Time at over 207.18 MPH, a record that KB Racing crew chief Rob Downing says "won't likely be broken during the 2004 season."
The short drag racing off-season has presented a new challenge to all Pro Stock competitors. Event safety, always a primary concern for the NHRA, was the motivation for implementing the new bead lock rim rule which requires competitors to run the familiar Funny Car style bead lock rim and larger tire. The new rim is designed to prevent both the rotation of the tire on the rim and inadvertent tire separation from the rim at high speed.
Teams immediately began modifying their cars for the increased tire size and weight, necessitating both chassis and driveline modifications, and a deeper gear ratio to compensate for the larger tire circumference. "In pre-season testing we've initially made over 35 passes with the new tire and rim combination and we've discovered a number of issues we're working to overcome," said Crew Chief Downing. "Compared to last year's performance, we are down approximately 1 to1.5 MPH. While we've made incremental improvements in the horsepower department over last year, it will not overcome the tire rule change we're dealing with," Downing added.
"This year at Pomona, whoever hits on the right chassis set-up will be the team to beat," says Anderson. "We're basically starting with a clean sheet of paper on chassis set-up."
Due to the new rules, last year's race set-up data is of no use this season. Testing has been a top priority for the team in an effort to find the right set-up. "By the time we race at Pomona we'll have made over 80 passes, hopefully we'll be close," Anderson said.
Referring to his season high points, Anderson says he has been blessed with a great team owner in Vegas General Construction home builder, Ken Black. "With Ken's support we have built a top drawer, winning organization," Anderson said.
The high points in 2003? "For me personally, it was setting the new NHRA Pro Stock record, winning my second Indy US Nationals in convincing fashion. Many of my competitors claimed my first 2001 US Nationals Pro Stock win was a fluke; we proved them wrong. Finally, other great moments included our team sweeping both Las Vegas NHRA events in dominant fashion for home town team owner Ken Black," Anderson added.