The partnership between Rodger Brogdon and Steve Kent in the NHRA Pro Stock ranks has taken a bold step in a new direction with the announcement of an in-house engine program.
"We're real excited about this new venture," said Brogdon, driver of the MavTV Chevy Camaro. "We've been talking to guys like Mike Edwards and several others, and they said if we're going to be serious about [a racing program] over the long haul, you have to have to build your own engines, so we've decided that's what we're going to do."
Brogdon and Kent sat out the Western Swing while crafting the team's new plan. The pair kicked around a few ideas, but the decision to go into the engine-building business themselves was quickly reached.
At that point, the first order of business was coming up with a name.
"We were going to use our initials," Brogdon said. "But someone said KB Racing was already taken, so we went with something catchy: Steve Kent Racing.
"In all seriousness, I can't do any of this without Steve Kent. He asked me what we needed to contend for the championship, and I said if we wanted to do this for a while, we had better start our own engine program. Steve said he wants to race for the next eight to 10 years, so he put up the money for this deal. We're going to get the best equipment and the best people and make the best engines we can."
Steve Kent Racing isn't starting totally from scratch; it purchased Oklahoma-based Elite Motorsports.
"When we were rookies and tried this in the past, we went about it in the wrong way, and it didn't work," Brogdon said. "Now that we've been out here for a while, we've learned what to do and what not to do. I know the results will be different.
"The opportunity came along, and we bought all of Richard Freeman's Elite Performance stuff. We bought the machine shop, racing engines, pretty much everything he had. We've kept everybody on, put a lot of money into the R&D department for the rest of the year, and we'll rent the building up there through the end of the year, so we shouldn't miss a beat."
Brogdon said the new group is going to hit the ground running.
"We're leaving Thursday to go test," Brogdon said. "We're going to run three or four days up somewhere before heading up to Brainerd. We've hired Jimmy Oliver, who has been around Pro Stock for a long time, and we're going to give him everything he needs to be successful. Hopefully, we'll get out there and qualify for the races and win a few rounds while we're preparing for next year."
Following the season, the plan is to relocate Steve Kent Racing to the Houston area, which is closer to Brogdon's and Kent's home bases.