By Briar Starr, NHRA Staff Writer
Current Team Owner Greg Anderson who replaced Ken Black (after Black announced his retirement in Pomona) and business partners Eric Latino and Jim Whiteley will work side-by-side to form a new team called KBTR.
Latino is excited to work alongside with Anderson to continue their ventures in NHRA.
“To partner with one of the most respected and successful teams in the history of Pro Stock is incredible,” said Latino. “We built a really good, respected, and proven brand with Titan Racing Engines – not just for Pro Stock but also for Pro Mod, sprint cars, and dirt track racing – and with the resources that we now have together, the capabilities are truly awesome. There are more announcements to come for KB Titan Racing, but we’re already beyond thrilled with this partnership.”
Additionally, Titan Racing who previously worked in Denver, North Carolina will move to Mooresville, North Carolina home of the KB Racing shop for the 2023 season. This means all equipment from Titan Racing and staff will relocate to the new shop making the team a new potential force to be reckoned with in Pro Stock racing. There are two key figures who made Titan Racing successful who are also joining along with the merger and that involves Stevie Johns and Mike Smith.
“That includes Stevie Johns and Mike Smith,” said Latino, referring to the key staples in Denver engine shop. Johns, a master machinist, worked alongside Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins, and engine builder Smith was a student of Warren “the Professor” Johnson. Johns and Smith were also were integral in the careers of other champion drag racers and engine builders, including Victor Cagnazzi and the Gray Motorsports team.
“These guys are just so talented, and they’ve been part of extremely successful operations,” Latino continued. “To bring them together with Greg Anderson, Rob Downing, Dave Connolly, and all of the talent in the Mooresville race shop – that’s a lot of knowledge under one roof.
“The really exciting part is that we’ve already started sharing information and realizing what we can do together. We were good as two separate teams, but we’ve taken the two best East Coast powerhouses and found that we’re going to be much, much stronger together. We’ve got the best of the best, all under one roof.”
Anderson also made comments about the new transition.
“It’s no secret that it was very sad for us to see Ken Black retire – he’s meant so much to us through the years, and he will always be part of this team. He’s the heart of the team, to be honest, and that will never change,” said Anderson.
“Father Time had his say in this one. Ken and Judy made the right decision for themselves and their family – and you can’t help but be happy for the people you care about. But we had to find the next Ken Black, and that wasn’t an easy thing to do. When it’s all said and done, I think we came pretty close, and I’m really excited about the future of this team.”
The 2023 NHRA season gets underway at Gainesville for the annual Gator Nationals on March 9-12.