On Saturday at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, just before Greg Anderson made his last qualifying pass of the year in the HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro, there was a pause in the action as KB Racing team owner Ken Black’s retirement was announced to the crowd at the Auto Club NHRA Finals.
“This has been an amazing journey,” said Black, who started KB Racing with Greg Anderson in 2002 and has amassed 175 Pro Stock victories – 100 of them with Anderson behind the wheel – and nine Pro Stock championships. “What an amazing group of gentlemen Greg and I put together [to form] KB Racing. We started building our own motors and everything else, and that’s when our success really started.
“I hate to leave, but this will be my last race as a team owner. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to come to the races as a spectator and spend time with my old team in the pits. I’m going to miss everybody, from the fans to my fellow racers. It’s hard to leave after this many years, but it’s just been great.”
Starting from the No. 2 position and with a first-round meeting with Chris McGaha, Anderson is looking for a meaningful win on Sunday in Pomona to close this chapter of his racing career and send his longtime boss into retirement on a high note.
“This weekend is really for Ken Black; we want to celebrate him in every way we can, and it’s been a joyous weekend so far,” said Anderson, who was the low qualifier on Friday night in Pomona after his HendrickCars.com Chevrolet was quickest in each of the first two sessions. His best qualifying pass of the weekend netted a 6.509, 211.00, and overall, he claimed 11 bonus qualifying marks.
“There is nothing I would love more than to be able to hand Ken this final trophy of his career,” Anderson continued. “I’m happy for him, proud to be part of his team, and so thankful for all the years we’ve spent together. We’ve been awesome together. We’re going to try to keep his KB Racing name alive and strong for a lot of years to come.”
Anderson, who will be taking over the team alongside longtime crew chief Rob Downing and additional yet-to-be-named investors, has so far won at Auto Club Raceway Pomona 13 times overall and seven times at this event. He heads into Sunday at the NHRA Finals as the most winning driver ever amongst the factory hot rods.
“Ken Black is responsible for every one of my wins,” continued Anderson. “He’s made all of my hopes and dreams come true. Who knows what my life would have been if it wasn’t for him. He gave me this wonderful opportunity 20 years ago, and we tried to make the most of it. It’s because of him that we’ve been able to be a huge success. We have a lot to be proud of because of him. He’s absolutely the man.”
Auto Club NHRA Finals eliminations are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. PT on Sunday at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.