For the sixth time in his career, Greg Anderson earned the $50,000 top prize in the K&N Horsepower Challenge held Saturday at The Strip as Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Anderson, a four-time NHRA Mello Yello Series champion, drove his Summit Camaro to a final round victory over his friend and North Carolina neighbor, Shane Gray. In one of the most competitive rounds of the day, Anderson drove to a 6.684 to 6.699 win over Gray in a rematch of the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals final round two weeks ago.
“This means the world,” said Anderson. “This is the most fun race of the year for me. I love K&N [Filters] and all they do for this class and the sport in general,” Anderson said. “Without them, it wouldn’t be the same. Six wins; that’s $300,000, can you imagine that? That’s more money than I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Anderson, who also won the K&N specialty event last season in 2016, 2011, 2010, 2006, and 2004, came into the event as the No. 2 seed based on his qualifying performance during the last 23 events, reached the final round after wins over Allen Johnson and his KB racing teammate Bo Butner. Anderson was consistent with runs of 6.670 and 6.669 in his first two runs.
“To come out here in front of [KB racing team owner and Las Vegas native] Ken Black and get the job done it awesome,” Anderson said. “That’s home field advantage and we made the most of it. Every time you race it can go either way. It goes back and forth. They say you can’t win them all. We try to but the truth is you’re not gonna. That [Gainesville final] was a tough loss. I took it personally. I made a mistake and I think I lost the race because of it. If I had lost twice I would have had a tough time dealing with it. Now we can come out with our guns blazing and hopefully win another race tomorrow.
“[Crew chief] Rob Downing gave me a perfect race car and all I could do is not screw it up,” Anderson said. “The sun was out today and that made it tricky for for crew chiefs. The truth is that Rob Downing did a better of job managing that track than any of the other crew chiefs. That [Cold Hart Art] trophy is beautiful and I love it but it’s going to Rob Downing.”
Gray, who is racing a part-time scheduled this season while he tutors his 17-year old son, Tanner, was racing in the K&N Horsepower Challenge for the fourth time in his career. Gray wheeled his Gray Manufacturing Technologies Camaro to an opening round win against Vincent Nobile, who shook the tires. He reached the final round by stopping Erica Enders, the winner of the 2014 and 2015 K&N Challenge events.