By Briar Starr, NHRA Staff Writer
It was an emotional last two days for Pro Stock championship Team Owner Ken Black, who fields the machines of Greg Anderson, Kyle Koretsky, Dallas Glenn, Matt Hartford, and Deric Kramer.
Announced late Saturday afternoon in qualifying, Ken Black owner of KB Racing, would retire following the 2022 Pro Stock season. Black has enjoyed a lot of success over the years and has earned 175 Pro Stock trophies and gained 100 of those wins with champion Greg Anderson. The announcement was an emotional one for Black, but he was ready to ride into the sunset.
“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.”
Knowing Anderson had a little extra pep in his step, he wanted to be the driver who went out a winner on Sunday afternoon and deliver Mr. Black his last Wally.
“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 headed into race day with a first-round match against No. 15 qualifier Chris McGaha. In their first-round match, Anderson was victorious and eliminated McGaha with a 6.523 over a 6.566. The margin of victory was nine feet despite McGaha originally having the reaction time advantage of a .042 to Anderson’s .057.
In the quarterfinals, he would meet Elite Performance’s Bo Butner who announced Saturday he would be returning to the team next year. Butner had a victory over Fernando Cuadra Jr in the first round. As for the race, Anderson was quicker off the starting line with a .016 compared to Cuadra Jr’s .050. The Hendrick Cars Chevy never trailed and went on to win the race with a 6.537 to a 6.539.
Anderson would ultimately have lane choice in his next-round opponent in the semis, which was Fernando Cuadra Sr. Fortunately for Anderson, the race was already over at the Christmas tree, as Cuadra Sr fouled too soon, which gave Anderson the win and a final round match.
Also taking place in the semis was a pair of teammates who fought each other a lot over the past year. Those were 2022 Pro Stock champion Erica Enders and Aaron Stanfield. It was a great side-by-side battle to the wire, but ultimately, the winner went to Enders who was seeking her 11th victory of the year while Anderson was looking for his first since the U.S. Nationals back in September.
In the final round, Anderson cut a .020 light and Enders was .061, which gave Anderson the advantage of leaving the Christmas tree. Even though Enders was a tick quicker on the E.T. with a 6.515 to Anderson’s 6.516, Anderson had the holeshot victory by having a faster mph speed of 210.31 mph over Ender’s 210.01 mph.
Anderson went on to score his second victory of the 2022 season and the 101st win of his career. Additionally, the Duluth, Minnesota native now has 14 at-track victories at Pomona.
“We had 20 great years together. I love the man, love the family. He’s like a second father to me. So, coming into the weekend in Pomona, we know we’re not going to win a world championship this year so really the only way to give him a small thank you for all he’s done. All the cards fell right today. I felt great all weekend. I felt good as a driver and had a good weekend of driving. My race car was fast and the chips all fell down right. I think it all came down to the best way I could have written the story, just like back at Indy. I think these wins, when I won Indy this year when I got No. 100 and this one to give Ken Black his final trophy, probably my two biggest wins. It’s incredible.”
Final Pro Stock Championship Standings
- Erica Enders, 2,823
- Greg Anderson, -242
- Aaron Stanfield, 248
- Troy Coughlin Jr, -285
- Kyle Koretsky, -364
- Matt Hartford, -426
- Dallas Glenn, 448
- Cristian Cuadra, -528
- Bo Butner, -558
- Deric Kramer, -564
Pro Stock Results following Pomona
- Greg Anderson
- Erica Enders
- Aaron Stanfield
- Fernando Cuadra
- Bo Butner
- Troy Coughlin Jr
- Matt Hartford
- Cristian Cuadra
- Deric Kramer
- Camrie Caruso
- Chris McGaha
- Fernando Cuadra Jr
- Mason McGaha
- Dallas Glenn
- Kyle Koretsky
- Shane Tucker