Crew Chief’s Take: Rob Downing


KB Racing’s longtime crew chief, Rob Downing (center), with assistant crew chief Nate VanWassenhove

Saturday at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals dawned cool and quite overcast, with a predicted high of just 71 degrees Fahrenheit. Competing at Houston Raceway Park in the fall is an unusual affair (the last time was in 2000, when NHRA contested the SuperNationals there), but KB Racing crew chief Rob Downing knows what to do with a variety of conditions.

In 2018, he and the Summit Racing crew had a just-right combination for the sea level facility as they sent Greg Anderson down the track to a 6.492-second pass to claim the track record and log one of the fastest passes yet in Pro Stock’s electronic fuel inject era. Last season, though, they didn’t get a crack at Houston Raceway Park; the SpringNationals were not on the Pro Stock schedule.

“We just came from Dallas, which had pretty similar situations on Saturday to what we have today,” said Downing. “It’s not that big of a swing from there to here, so we’re just building off of that. I’m more thinking about how the track has changed since we were here last. We can run fast for sure, assuming that the conditions are okay down-track. They’ve been rough here in the past, so we’ll just give it our best shot on the first run.”

When the weather is cool and the air isn’t thick with moisture, Pro Stock drivers and tuners tend to rub their hands together in anticipation. Downing, though, is keeping an even keel.

“We need a little bit of sun to pop out and make the track good for us,” he said. “These aren’t perfect conditions for us, but it’s probably the best we’ve had this year.”

Run Schedule (all times local)
Saturday, October 24
8:30am – Lucas Oil Series Sportsman eliminations begin
12:45pm – Camping World Drag Racing Series Pro Stock qualifying session 1
3:45pm – Camping World Drag Racing Series Pro Stock qualifying session 2

Sunday, October 25
10am – Camping World Drag Racing Series eliminations begin,
eliminations for all other categories continue

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