Anderson And Line Couple With Chevrolet Camaro’s Bow Tie Brigade
In the space of nine short years, Las Vegas businessman Ken Black’s KB Racing team has gone from a fledging one-car entry in the NHRA’s highly competitive Pro Stock division to one of the most successful organizations in the history of the sport, earning six Full Throttle championships and 97 national event wins.
A good part of those successes have come in the last two years, with teammates Greg Anderson and Jason Line each capturing a championship, while combining to win a class-leading 17 races in 27 final round appearances in their trademark Summit Racing Pontiacs.
Therefore, it might be understandable if the team’s approach to the three-month period between seasons was one of performing routine maintenance while restocking any supplies needed for the grueling 23-race schedule that lies ahead. As Anderson explains, it is all part of their ongoing commitment to competitive excellence.
“The fact that this Summit Racing team has won the last two championships puts even more emphasis on getting things accomplished during this off-season,” said Anderson, who earned his fourth title in 2010. “This is a very tough sport, and you can’t rest on your laurels thinking you’ve won a lot of races and a couple championships because you’ve just made everyone else want to work that much harder to try and beat you.
“You have to make hay during these two-and-a half months because you don’t get a lot time to do research & development during the season. You’re tied up going to the races or doing your normal between-race maintenance. Every part from the front bumper to the back bumper has to be considered, because every aspect of the operation, including the driver, has to get better.
“It’s a proven fact that other teams will be making gains, and if you don’t, you’re going to get passed by, and we certainly are not going to allow that to happen. That’s why we’re keeping our noses to the grindstone and acting as if we got our tails whipped last year, because we don’t want to be behind.”
Ironically, the last two off-seasons have been far from the ideal scenario for the KB crew, as it had to deal with a series of serious issues that prevented it from performing the crucial research and development work that is the norm for this time of year. Even though, as 2011 Pro Stock champion Line admits, the team was still able to recover and continue to display the competitive excellence for which it is known. However, with no such distractions this year, he feels good about their chances heading into next month’s Winternationals in Pomona.
“Between Ken’s stroke and Greg’s house fire in 2009 and our race transporter fire in 2010, we found ourselves behind the eight ball and scrambling to get ready during the last two off-seasons,” said Line, now a two-time champion. “Through some hard work by this Summit Racing team we were able to overcome it both times and bring home the championship. In each case, it took us quite a bit of time to get our program where it needed to be.
“Fortunately, we’ve had no such issues this year, so I expect us to be in much better shape, although we really won’t know until that first qualifying session in Pomona. Sure, we’ve had some tremendous success the last two good years, but that’s all behind us now. Next month, when we get to the Winternationals, everyone will be all even and it’s our job to make sure we keep ourselves at the top of the board. That is why everyone is putting in the long hours at the shop right now, looking for horsepower and finding ways to make us better.”
Finally, unlike other years where the sole purpose of this 90-day period was to prepare for the upcoming season, there is one additional consideration this year that puts additional emphasis on making as much progress as possible prior to the start of the season. A new body style is expected to be introduced during the year.
“By the look of it, we will be switching to new Chevy Camaros in 2012,” stated Anderson. “It’s a new opportunity for us, and we look forward to racing for the Bow Tie Brigade. Although I’ve always raced General Motors products, up until now they’ve mostly been Pontiacs, so it’s going to be an interesting new chapter for the KB Racing team, and we can’t wait to get started.
“They are probably not going to be on the race track in Pomona, and the goal right now is to have them ready around Gainesville if at all possible. Naturally, that means there is a lot of emphasis being put on building new cars and what changes we want to incorporate from our current Summit Racing Pontiacs. It makes for an interesting off-season any time you switch cars, because it’s an additional challenge.
“I’d have to say we’re pleased with our progress so far, and we’re looking forward to what we can accomplish in the next month before the season starts, seeing if we can make this program even better.
“It’s a never-ending battle, but this team has never backed down from a challenge, so we’re going to continue trying as hard as we can to keep bringing the Wallys and the championships right back here to our shop in Mooresville.”