Friday, April 16, 2010

Racers going all out to win for recovering team owner

By Anthony Fenech

Friday, April 16, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.

The world seems right again for Ken Black Racing teammates Greg Anderson and Jason Line.

Back in Las Vegas, where the KB Racing team has seen its fair share of success, the duo is feeling more comfortable than ever heading into this weekend’s NHRA Nationals, thanks to an appearance by their team owner, Ken Black.

On Dec. 7, Black suffered a stroke that paralyzed the left side of his body and kept him from doing what he loves the most, being at the racetrack.

A native Las Vegan, Black was temporarily released from the hospital earlier this week so he could spend time with the racers.

“We’ve missed him terribly,” Anderson said Thursday afternoon. “Seeing him and knowing he’s here, it’s been the closest to having a comfortable feeling.”

“It’s absolutely killing him that he can’t be out at the track,” Anderson said. “This is his full-time hobby; it’s his baby, and winning something like this would certainly help his recovery.”

A victory for Anderson is certainly within the realm of possibility. He has six Pro Stock wins at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, more than any driver in the different series.

With the KB Racing team since its infancy in 2002, when the team finished in third place, Anderson won the next four NHRA Indy Nationals championships and hasn’t finished outside of the top two since.

But with Black’s condition, which the driver said is quickly improving, this weekend’s race brings more motivation to a team that considers Las Vegas its hometown and LVMS its home track.

“Seeing Ken yesterday for the first time since getting sick, it was a great way to start off the weekend,” Line said. “We love coming to Vegas. We’ve done well in the past and, hopefully, it will continue.”

Heading into the weekend, Line and Anderson sit in third and fourth place, respectively, in the Pro Stock series, chasing Mike Edwards, who has a commanding 192-point lead in the standings.

“When you’re behind, you make changes you maybe shouldn’t make,” Anderson said. “We can’t overreact.”

And for a man who has 60 national event wins, the second-highest among active Pro Stock racers, and has a 73 percent success rate in elimination rounds, he’d like to take the checkered flag this weekend more than ever before.

“Without a doubt, I want to win this race more than any other in my career,” Anderson said about winning it for Black. “He puts the fun into it and he’s why we do it.”

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