After KB Titan merger, Greg Anderson sees greatness ahead with powerful reinforcements
The 2022 Camping World NHRA Drag Racing Series did not go as planned for this year's incoming Pro Stock champion. For Greg Anderson, who earned his fifth world title in 2021, this year was essentially a tale of two seasons – the first half was an unfulfilling affair, while the second was a rewarding venture he sees as a springboard for an even stronger future.
"We were kind of a little bit shocked at the beginning of the year," admitted Anderson, who was a semifinalist at the season opener in Pomona but then struggled to go rounds at the next three events. "We had gotten outworked or out-brained over the winter, and the Elite [Motorsports] team came out ahead. There's no way to sugar-coat it: after having a little bit of an advantage the year before, we were at a disadvantage."
Teammates Dallas Glenn and Kyle Koretsky went to battle in the final at Gainesville – Glenn got the nod – putting the team now known as KB Titan Racing on the map for the season. However, Elite Motorsports drivers Erica Enders and Aaron Stanfield claimed the first two event trophies of the year with respective victories in Pomona and Phoenix, and that created a catch-up situation for Anderson and company.
Stanfield held tight to the points lead until Houston, then Enders took over the top spot and held it all the way until the final day of the year. In Sonoma, Anderson's outlook began to turn; he qualified in the No. 2 spot and barely missed the target in a final-round meeting with Enders, and from there, he re-established himself as a contender for the championship.
For the next three events, Anderson was the No. 1 qualifier in his HendrickCars.com Camaro, and after another final-round appearance in Topeka, he claimed an extraordinary milestone on the most prestigious stage. Already the most successful driver in the history of the NHRA Pro Stock class, Anderson made history with win No. 100 at the Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.
"The first half of the season, we really didn't have a chance to win," said Anderson. "We were behind the 8-ball, but we made gains and put ourselves in a better position. That win at Indy meant so much to me, and it's one I will never, ever forget. To win No. 100 at the most historic race on the schedule was a dream, and there isn't much that can top that experience for me. It was just so cool."
The Indy win moved Anderson up a notch to No. 3 in the Pro Stock standings entering the Countdown to the Championship, and with a semifinal performance at Maple Grove Raceway, he was No. 2 with a real shot at the big title. Another final in Dallas kept the championship on the horizon, but ultimately, a first-round loss in Las Vegas – coupled with a win for Enders – sealed the deal on her fifth world title. Anderson still had one item possible on his to-do list for the season, and that was to win the NHRA Finals for departing team owner Ken Black.
Starting from the No. 2 position, Anderson made his way through the field with one of the best Pro Stockers on the grounds there in Pomona, and in a final-round battle with Enders, he left the starting line first to narrowly edge his opponent for a holeshot win and a surge of adrenaline like no other.
"To give Ken Black that final victory at the end of the season was one of the best moments of my career," said Anderson. "When you ask me what I think of my season, the first thought is obviously, 'I only won two races,' but the truth is that those two wins were probably the biggest of my entire career. They certainly meant the most. I couldn't possibly ask for anything more than winning my 100th at Indy and then being able to hand that trophy to Ken Black at his last race as our team owner. They're two great storylines that I'll remember forever."
Anderson's career has been rich with milestones and accolades, and other drivers might have elected to hang their driver's suit in the closet and proceed to a less demanding, more relaxing chapter after their team owner's retirement. Anderson, though, is more excited than ever to keep the train rolling. The KB Racing team recently announced a merger with Titan Racing Engines to form KB Titan Racing, bringing together talented engine builders and machinists and some of the best equipment available for research and development.
"I'm very positive, very excited," said Anderson. "We're going to be starting 2023 stronger than we've been in a lot of years, and there are a lot of changes being made at KB Titan Racing that are only going to make us stronger.
"Looking back at how we turned things around last year, I'm definitely proud of the guys. We learned a valuable lesson this year, and we need to stick our noses to the grindstone these next few months before the new season. Everything we're doing right now, it's all designed to make this team better. We're sad to see our longtime team owner retire, but we've partnered with the right people moving forward for the next chapter, and the relationships we've formed these last few weeks in our new endeavor have been great. I can't wait to see what fruit this bears. I'm confident that we're going to be a great race team moving forward."