Progress and Projection with KB Racing Crew Chief Rob Downing

IMG_5646Progress report following Brainerd’s Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals (race 11 of 18) and ahead of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis

Brainerd wrap-up:
Q1 was really good for Jason’s Summit Racing Chevy Camaro; we hit it right from the get-go, and conditions stayed close all weekend so it was just making small tweaks. It’s good to start out that way, and it worked out well in the end. Our weakness was the red car. We didn’t start off well, and we fought it all weekend. Felt like we got a little better, but unfortunate things happened for Greg first round. If we could have gotten out of first round, things might have been different, but we can’t know.

Overall grade for Brainerd:
The silver Summit Racing Chevy gets an A for Brainerd, but we have to average in the other cars. I would go with B.

The Indy Challenges:
Qualifying there is always tough because Friday night is usually the best session, so you have to have the screws turned right and rip off a good one. There is also an additional day at the U.S. Nationals. Your brain is ready to go home on Sunday night, but you have to make sure it stays for Monday. As for the track, the lanes used to be very lopsided, but they’ve fixed that. The track is good, but there are lots of cars there. It does get beat up, so you have to pay attention to that throughout the weekend.

Points implications for the last regular-season race before the Countdown to the Championship:
I don’t look at the points unless we’re outside of the top 10. Right or wrong, I just try to win every race, and the points take care of themselves.

Indy Memories:
I’ve been coming here a long time. My first Indy memory is coming here with my dad in the late 80s or early 90s to watch Super Stock. This race is special for him. He always made a big deal about the U.S. Nationals, so it became a big deal for me, too. I still like watching Super Stock class eliminations; I’ve always been drawn to those cars.

My son was born on Monday of Indy in 2002. Before I was with KB Racing and with a different team, my wife, Aimee, was due to have our son on Thursday after Indy. Connor came early, though. She called me at the hotel at about four in the morning on Monday [raceday] to tell me she was in labor. Her mom was there with her and everything so she was okay, but I left right away and was able to get there in time. Fortunately, I was able to get Rich Purdy to help the team while I was gone, lining up the car and whatever else they needed, so it worked out okay. That has to be my best Indy memory.

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