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K&N Gears Up for the 34th K&N Horsepower Challenge at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

K&N Horsepower Challenge Logo

The 34th running of the K&N Horsepower Challenge will be contested this Saturday, April 7th at the newly renovated Las Vegas Motor Speedway during the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.

The K&N Horsepower Challenge, a race-within-a-race, brings the top 7 Pro Stock drivers together for a three-round shootout offering nothing but glory and a $50,000 paycheck. The drivers have accumulated points since the previous K&N Horsepower Challenge and the top 7 in points lock in a spot to compete, then the 8th driver is voted in by the fans.

The Fans have spoken and they want to see Vincent Nobile, the driver of the Mountain View Tire Chevy Camaro, in the 8th spot.

top 8 K&N Horsepower Challenge drivers on stage in 2017 before the race

The top 8 Pro Stock drivers get ready to face off in the K&N HPC in 2017

Here are the first-round Match-ups and some fast facts about each driver’s history in the K&N Horsepower Challenge:

Vincent Nobile vs. Bo Butner

  • Vincent was the youngest K&N Horsepower Challenge Champion back in 2012, then he went on to win the main event, as well
  • Bo Butner is just coming off his best season as the 2017 Pro Stock Champion, which helped him get to the No. 1 Qualifier position in the K&N Horsepower Challenge

Greg Anderson vs. Erica Enders

Vincent Nobile wins the K&N Horsepower Challenge in 2012

Vincent Nobile takes the 8th spot in the HPC being voted in as the fan-favorite

  • Greg has won the K&N Horsepower Challenge the past two years and has 6 titles overall
  • Erica won back-to-back K&N Horsepower Challenge titles starting in 2014, where both years she doubled-up by winning the event title, as well

Jason Line vs. Jeg Coughlin

  • Jason has been close to winning the K&N Horsepower Challenge, but has never hoisted the trophy
  • Jeg Coughlin clearly knows how to rally his fans, as he has won the K&N Horsepower Challenge Fan Vote 3 times and won the event in 2009

Drew Skillman vs. Tanner Gray

Greg Anderson wins his 6th K&N Horsepower Challenge in 2017

Greg Anderson celebrates his record 6th K&N HPC win in 2017

  • Drew and Tanner were 4th and 5th in the K&N Horsepower Challenge standings
  • Tanner Gray won the DENSO NHRA Nationals last season

Tune in to see which driver comes out on top! K&N Horsepower Challenge rounds are scheduled for noon, 2:40 and 3:20 p.m. on Saturday, April 7.

Greg Anderson Claims his 7th K&N Horsepower Challenge Victory In Las Vegas

Greg Anderson defeated Bo Butner in the final round of the K&N Horsepower Challenge in Las Vegas on Saturday managing to hoist the trophy for the 3rd year in a row and 7th time in his career. Anderson recorded a 6.731-second elapsed time and a top speed of 205.47 mph against his teammate Butner who had a foul start costing him the race. That mistake not only cost Butner the race, but also the $50,000 check that found itself in the hands of Greg Anderson once again.

Greg Anderson lifts the trophy and celebrates at the K&N HPC

Greg Anderson celebrates his 7th win of the K&N Horsepower Challenge

Greg joked after the race, “There aren’t many people who can say they left Las Vegas with more money than they came with.”

Before facing off against Bo Butner, Greg Anderson edged out both Erica Enders and Jeg Coughlin to reach the final round. He also found time during his eventful day to join the rest of the drivers as they signed autographs for fans at the K&N truck and trailer. The fans were definitely out in full force on Saturday with NHRA announcing they had sold out the event.

drivers meet fans and sign autographs at the K&N display trailer

K&N drivers meet fans and sign autographs at the K&N display trailer

Heading into the weekend, NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock driver Bo Butner led the K&N Horsepower Challenge standings. Butner ran his first full NHRA Pro Stock season in 2017 and certainly made the most of it as he took home the championship. He was looking to add to his already impressive drag racing career with a K&N Horsepower Challenge victory but may have been a little too amped up for the final race leading him to red light against Greg.

“It’s the most exciting race of the year for me.” said Butner before the event.

K&N Horsepower Challenge Logo

K&N Horsepower Challenge logo

Butner and Anderson have developed a friendly teammate rivalry that made for an intriguing story line leading up to the final round. Driving for the KB Racing team, Butner won five events and came from behind to beat Anderson in the final event of the season at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California. “He’s definitely become a pain in my butt,” Anderson said about Butner. “He’s great. I love racing with him. He’s a fantastic dude. But holy smokes, I am having a hell of a time getting around him. He’s had my number lately. It’s been a head-scratcher for us. He’s come so far in the last year in his driving skills.”

Butner had a 115-point lead over Anderson heading into the K&N Horsepower Challenge, a six-race series that started in Las Vegas in October. The top-seven drivers in the K&N Horsepower Challenge earned spots in the final event at the NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas. Fans voted Vincent Nobile into the eighth spot after the Gatornationals in Florida on March 17.

the 8 pro stock drivers in the K&N Horsepower Challenge

The 8 drivers for the K&N Horsepower Challenge are introduced to the fans at LVMS

In addition to Anderson taking home $50,000, Butner received $10,000 for making it to the final round. Drew Skillman and Jeg Coughlin also managed to leave the track with $3,000 each for competing in the semi-finals. Immediately after his victory Anderson summed up the race by saying “K&N has been so wonderful to this class and this sport in general, and it’s an honor to race for this check. That’ll go a long way to racing these cars. It’s a big shot in the arm and a big confidence booster going into tomorrow.”

Grag Anderson burnout in his pro stock car at the K&N HPC

Greg Anderson performs his pre-race burnout in the final run of the K&N HPC

K&N Sponsors the Mint 400 Desert Race Where Menzies Wins Big

The K&N semi at the Mint 400 contingency in Las Vegas, Nevada

The K&N semi is a centerpiece of the Mint 400 contingency

The Mint 400 is on the shortlist of the world's most iconic desert races. The 50th running of the Great American Off-Road Race roared into the Nevada desert and K&N was once again a driving force in the legendary event.

Mint 400 organizers made sure race fans had a wide variety of activities to enjoy, both at the Las Vegas pre-race contingency and also the actual race through the desert west of Sin City. In the end, K&N-sponsored racer Bryce Menzies topped the Mint 400 podium. Here is a look at the epic event.

Mint 400 Contingency

Las Vegas’ historic Freemont Street was once again the epicenter of the Mint 400 contingency event. The downtown area was a frenzy of activity. Vendors displayed their newest performance products, race teams competed in pit crew challenges, and fans rubbed elbows with racers and got up close and personal with exotic race machines.

Activity at the Mint 400 contingency in Las Vegas, Nevada

Freemont Street rumbles with activity during the Mint contingency

There is likely no other elite race that allows a more up-close and hands-on fan experience than the Mint 400. High-dollar desert trucks, cars, and UTVs rumbled through the mass of race fans as they made their way to the contingency stage and through inspection. Fans took selfies with vendor models and ate steaming street tacos as the contingency activities unfolded.

There was not a more conspicuous presence at the Freemont Street contingency than K&N. The massive and instantly-recognizable K&N logo graced the company semi-truck directly adjacent to the Mint 400 contingency stage. Race fans lined up to see new performance products like the K&N 63-1141 AirCharger air intake system for the Can-Am X3. K&N representatives handed out logo hats, socks, shirts, and other exciting swag.

The K&N sponsored racers meet fans at the K&N semi truck

K&N sponsored racers gathered to meet fans, take photos, and sign autographs

The contingency experience was capped off when race fans got the chance to meet and get autographs from K&N racers including Greg Adler, Bryce Menzies, Bradley Morris, Curt Leduc, Jerry Zaiden, RJ Anderson, Mitch Guthrie, Katie Vernola, and Jason Murray

RJ Anderson, Katie Vernola, and Mitch Guthrie Jr. All in all, the Mint 400 contingency was a huge success as Freemont Street was literally (albeit temporarily) renamed ‘Mint 400 Blvd.’

Mint 400 Race Day

Race start for the Mint 400 in Primm, Nevada

The full day of racing starts before sunrise in the Nevada desert

The Mint 400 got down to business before the sun rose over the desert around Primm, Nevada. The quirky, fun, eclectic Buffalo Bill’s Casino was once again the staging landmark for the race. The start / finish line rested in the shadows of the casino’s impressive roller coaster.

Waves of UTVs, trick trucks, jeeps, and even VW Beetles made their way to the starting line in front of masses of enthusiastic race fans. The starting time for the first waves of racers was set for 6 AM, with the second session scheduled at midday.

Media and race team helicopters chopped in the sky above the Nevada desert as the race set out onto one of the most brutal courses in off-road racing.

Bryce Menzies

Bryce Menzies racing to a Mint 400 victory

K&N-sponsored Bryce Menzies fought to his second Mint 400 victory

K&N-sponsored Bryce Menzies fought tooth and nail in his trick truck to escape with a narrow Mint 400 victory. Recent Mint races have been decided by mere seconds and the 50th running was no exception. After nearly 400 miles of brutal racing across the Nevada desert, Menzies edged out Apdaly Lopez by a scant 28 seconds.

The ultra-close race shows just how important detail is in desert racing. One missed turn or a slow pit stop would have cost Menzies the victory. Menzies' second Mint 400 win held special significance for the racer.

“My grandfather passed away last week,” Menzies said. “He was always such a role model for me and I want to make him proud. This win is for him.”

Other K&N Notables

Katie Vernola at the Mint 400 in Primm, Nevada

Katie Vernola ready to race her K&N-equipped UTV in another Mint 400

While the victory by Menzies grabbed the headlines, other K&N-backed racers performed well in the 2018 Mint 400. The recently-crowned King of the Hammers champion, Mitch Guthrie Jr, powered to a top 5 finish in the Pro UTV Turbo class.

Katie Vernola tackled the rough Nevada desert course in her signature pink SxS. Experienced Baja racer Greg Adler again assaulted the Mint 400, as did the Murray Race Team and Camburg Engineering.

K&N congratulates all of our Mint 400 competitors.

 UTVs stage for the Mint 400 in Primm, Nevada

High performance UTVs stage for the Mint under the Buffalo Bill's Casino roller coaster

The pit crew challenge at the the Mint 400 contingency in Las Vegas, Nevada

The Las Vegas night air filled with the sounds of impact wrenches for the pit crew challenge

K&N filters at the Mint 400 in Primm, Nevada

K&N intakes, filters, and pre filters are trusted with protection and performance on Mint 400 racers

K&N racer at the Mint 400 contingency in Las Vegas, Nevada

Another beautiful desert racer equipped with K&N performance and protection

The desert trucks at the Mint 400 in Primm, Nevada

The desert trucks staging in the pre-dawn desert

Street sign at the Mint 400 contingency in Las Vegas, Nevada

Freemont Street becomes Mint 400 Blvd. for a few days in March

A custom at the Mint 400 contingency in Las Vegas, Nevada

The Mint contingency is a circus complete with sideshow oddities like this futuristic racer

The K&N truck at the Mint 400 contingency in Las Vegas, Nevada

Evening entertainment draws crowds near the K&N truck

A display wall at the Mint 400 contingency in Las Vegas, Nevada

A display wall gives a timeline of the Mint 400's storied history

Murray Race UTV at the Mint 400 in Primm, Nevada

K&N-sponsored Murray Race Team strapped in and ready to race in Primm

K&N Pro Series West opens at Kern County Raceway Park in California

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season kicked-off at Kern County Raceway Park in California on March 15th. A former K&N Pro Series West champion returned five years removed from his last title. The team that won the past three K&N Pro Series West championships opened its next chapter with new drivers and a new focus. Kevin Harvick, a hometown legend in Bakersfield and the 2015 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Champion, gave the K&N Pro Series drivers a taste of what it’s like to race against a top-level NASCAR Champion.

It was an exciting start to the K&N Pro Series West season.

Derek Thorn, Sunrise Ford, NASCAR, K&N Pro Series West, Kern County Raceway Park

Derek Thorn won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship in 2013.

The Sunrise Ford and Bill McAnally Racing teams, with five full-time drivers, are ready to battle for the K&N Pro Series West championship. Jefferson Pitts Racing plans to be in the mix as well. Here is a look at the top-contending drivers and teams in the K&N Pro Series West:

The Sunrise Ford team, owner by Bob Bruncati, is reaching into his past to try to produce a K&N Pro Series championship. Derek Thorn, who won the K&N Pro Series title in 2013, will be in one of the Sunrise Ford cars. Ryan Partridge, the runner-up in the K&N Pro Series standings in 2016, will be in the other car. Bruncati is bringing in a veteran presence to lead his team.

“I think he wants to get his program to the point where he feels like he can go out each and every week and compete for wins, do what it takes behind the scenes,” Thorn said in a NASCAR Hometracks interview. “I feel like Partridge is an extremely talented race car driver. We should be able to work through some things and get the program at Sunrise Ford to be where we want to be, to where we can go out each and every week and be confident that we can run up front.”

Thorn has five career wins in 37 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West starts.

Partridge is making his return to the K&N Pro Series West after taking a year off in 2017. He was third in the K&N Pro Series standings in 2015 and has won four races in his K&N Pro Series West career. He is reunited with his crew chief, Jeff Schrader. They combined in 2016 to finish in second place in the K&N Pro Series West standings.

“It feels like we are just a bunch of good ole boys working on race cars and having fun on the weekends,” Partridge said. “I think that’s really what it takes to stay relaxed, stay focused. There is zero animosity between anybody on the team. We’re all just going for a common goal. That what it feels like.”

Partridge is looking forward to working with his old crew.

“We’re talking apples to apples,” Partridge said. “As far as the chemistry of the team works that’s really important. You gotta be on the same level, same page with your crew chief.”

Bill McAnally Racing has won the past three K&N Pro Series West championships. Todd Gilliland won the titles in 2016 and 2017. Chris Eggleston won the championship in 2015 driving for McAnally. Both drivers are not with the team this year. Hailie Deegan and Cole Rouse are in. Derek Kraus, who won the Sunoco Rookie of the Year last year, is back in the team’s No. 16 car, the same one that Gilliland drove to consecutive championships.

Kraus won the season finale at Kern County Raceway Park to close out his rookie season. He was third in the K&N Pro Series West standings. His only win in 14 starts came at Kern County. He also posted nine top-five finishes in 14 starts.

Deegan, the 16-year-old daughter of X Games star Brian Deegan, is beginning her rookie campaign. But she is no stranger to racing. She has been winning off-road truck championships since she started racing when she was 8.

Rouse, an 18-year-old driver from Arkansas, had four top-five finishes in 14 K&N Pro Series West starts in 2016. Last year, he split time between racing in the ARCA Series and super late models. He was 11th in the ARCA Series race in Kentucky and 13th in the race in Kansas driving for Bill Venturini.

Derek Kraus, Bill McAnally Racing, NASCAR, K&N Pro Series West, Kern County Raceway Park

Derek Kraus was the rookie of the year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West in 2017.

Kody Vanderwal, a 17-year-old from Colorado, returns for his second season in the K&N Pro Series West. In his first full in the K&N Pro Series West, Vanderwal had two top-five finishes in 14 races. His team expanded to two cars for the 2018 season. Vanderwal got a jumpstart to the season, entering the K&N Pro Series East opener at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida in a car prepared by Bill McAnally Racing. He was 11th in the race at New Smyrna.

He said he feels good about the direction his team is heading.

“It’s similar. We didn’t really have a permanent setup,” Vanderwal said referring to the 2017 season. “This year the main difference is we have two cars. We have a shop setup.”

He added that racing with McAnally’s team was a valuable learning experience.

“I feel like I learned a lot last year,” Vanderwal said. “I feel like I learned a lot as a driver at New Smyrna a couple of weeks ago running with a Bill McAnally car. I think we will be fast.”

Will Rodgers, who drove one of the four entries for Jefferson Pitts Racing in the opener at Kern County, finished in fifth place in the K&N Pro Series West standings last season. He had nine top-five finishes in 14 races, won one pole and led for 26 laps in the races he entered last year.

Todd Souza was sixth in the K&N Pro Series West standings. He had two top-five finishes, a third-place at The Orange Show Speedway in California and a fourth-place at Meridian Speedway in Idaho.

Matt Levin was 11th in the K&N Pro Series West standings in 2017. He had four top-10 finishes in 14 races.

Ron Norman was 12th in the K&N Pro Series West standings in 2017. He had two top-10 finishes in 14 races.

Harvick has won the past two K&N Pro Series West races he entered, the most recent coming at Sonoma Raceway in California last year. He has a celebrated career in the K&N Pro Series. He was the runner-up to Joey Logano in the inaugural K&N Pro Series race at Iowa Speedway in 2007.

Throughout the K&N Pro Series West opener at Kern County Raceway Park, it looked as though Harvick would continue his K&N Pro Series winning streak, however, on the last restart, Derek Kraus was able to pass Harvick on Turn 4 with a good ol’ Short Track nudge. Harvick fell back to ninth place and only had time to battle back to 4th before the checkered flag dropped. With Thorn, Rouse and Partridge finishing in the top 5, it will be exciting to see the battle between Bob Bruncati’s Sunrise Ford Team and Bill McAnally NAPA Team unfold through the 2018 K&N Pro Series West season.

The next NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will be a twin 100-lap feature at Arizona’ Tucson Speedway on May 5th.

Sunrise Ford Team Brings Back Derek Thorn for the 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West

Bob Bruncati and his Sunrise Ford racing team has assembled a championship-caliber lineup to challenge Bill McAnally Racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. Derek Thorn, who won the 2013 K&N Pro Series West championship driving for Sunrise Ford, is back. Ryan Partridge, who was the runner-up in the K&N Pro Series West standings in 2016, is on board for a second stint with Sunrise Ford. The two are expected to loosen the grasp McAnally and his team have on the K&N Pro Series West.

“We gotta put a wrench in the gears,” Partridge said.

Derek Thorn, NASCAR, K&N Pro Series West, Sunrise Ford, Bob Bruncati

Derek Thorn won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship in 2013.

The Bill McAnally Racing drivers won 11 of the 14 K&N Pro Series West races in 2017. Todd Gilliland, one of the Bill McAnally Racing drivers, won his second K&N Pro Series West championship in a row last year. The Bill McAnally Racing team has won the past three K&N Pro Series West championships.

Thorn and Partridge are part of Bruncati’s plan to end the McAnally dynasty.

“I never thought five years later I would be back behind the wheel and doing it again,” Thorn said. “We’re hoping to pick up where we left off five years ago. Same crew, same crew chief. I’m excited to be back as part of those guys’ team. Hopefully we can perform to the highest of our ability and compete for a championship.”

Thorn has won five races in his career in the K&N Pro Series West. He has 26 top-five finishes in 37 K&N Pro Series West races. He is reunited with crew chief Bill Sedgwick. Thorn and Sedgwick teamed up to win the K&N Pro Series West championship in 2013.

Thorn said Bruncati wants to recapture the formula that produced a championship season five years ago.

Derek Thorn, NASCAR, K&N Pro Series West, Sunrise Ford, Bob Bruncati

Derek Thorn will drive for Bob Bruncati's Sunrise Ford team in the K&N Pro Series West in 2018.

“I think he wants to get his program to the point where he feels like he can go out each and every week and compete for wins, do what it takes behind the scenes,” Thorn said. “I feel like Partridge is an extremely talented race car driver. We should be able to work through some things and get the program at Sunrise Ford to be where we want to be, to where we can go out each and every week and be confident that we can run up front.”

Bruncati is showing some vision with his team too. Trevor Huddleston, an up-and-coming late model driver at Irwindale Speedway in Southern California, will drive in select races for Sunrise Ford in the K&N Pro Series West. But the nucleus of the team will be Thorn and Partridge.

“The chemistry is there. It works, it clicks,” Partridge said. “It’s a great package all around. Me and Derek go way back racing against each other. When it comes to giving feedback, it’s nice, because he’s a driver I can trust with his input and feedback. He can be on A, B and C packages and we will be on DEF and at the end of the day we can come together. Did this work? It didn’t work, let’s try this. It really cuts our learning curve in half.”

The team was put together a little late though. The two drivers were at Irwindale Speedway testing on Feb. 26. The K&N Pro Series is introducing a new tire for the teams. Thorn said they have been playing a little catch-up in regard to the new tires.

“We have some things to learn in a fast period of time,” Thorn said. “Some of the teams in the series have had access to these tires for about a month or more. We are looking to have it for about a couple of weeks before the start of the season. I feel like we’re a little bit behind the 8-ball compared to some of these guys. We have to make up for some lost time and hopefully we can find some speed.”

For Partridge, he is reunited with his old crew chief, Jeff Schrader. The two teamed up for a runner-up season in the K&N Pro Series West in 2016. In his career, Partridge has won four K&N Pro Series West races and was third in the standings in 2015. Even though Partridge has spent a year away from the K&N Pro Series West, he said the chemistry on the team has not changed.

Ryan Partridge, NASCAR, K&N Pro Series West, Sunrise Ford, Bob Bruncati

Ryan Partridge will drive for Bob Bruncati's Sunrise Ford team in the K&N Pro Series West in 2018.

“It feels like we are just a bunch of good ole boys working on race cars and having fun on the weekends,” Partridge said. “I think that’s really what it takes to stay relaxed, stay focused. There is zero animosity between anybody on the team. We’re all just going for a common goal. That’s what it feels like.”

Thorn said he has confidence in his team, but it takes a different approach to race for a championship. His team has high expectations and Thorn wants to make the most of his opportunity.

“My approach to this deal is to take it one race at a time,” Thorn said. “In the K&N Series, racing for a championship takes a different mindset. Sometimes you have a little more give and take than others. Take advantage of the great days at the race track and try to make the most of the bad days. Try to squeeze out every last point you can. When it comes down to the end of the season, the difference between winning the championship may be only a few points.”

The NASCAR K&N West season will begin at Kern County Raceway on Thursday, March 15th.

Hailie Deegan Wants to be First Woman to Win a K&N Pro Series West Race

NASCAR K&N Pro Series West driver Hailie Deegan has one specific goal. She wants to be the first woman to win a K&N Pro Series West race.

Deegan, the 16-year-old daughter of X Games star Brian Deegan, is with the right team with a winning tradition in the K&N Pro Series West. She will be driving for Bill McAnally Racing, which won 11 of the 14 races in the K&N Pro Series West in 2017. Bill McAnally Racing driver Todd Gilliland won his second K&N Pro Series West championship in a row. The team has won the past three K&N Pro Series West championships.

NASCAR, K&N Pro Series, Hailie Deegan, Bill McAnally Racing

Hailie Deegan started ninth and finished 29th in her first K&N Pro Series race in Florida.

“I want to be able to run in the top three, top five. That’s definitely my goal every race,” Deegan said. “My main goal is being the first girl to win a K&N race. I feel like I have the equipment to do it. I think I am putting in a lot more work than anyone else. I think that will catch up eventually.”

She will be driving the car that Derek Kraus raced last year for Bill McAnally Racing. Knaus won the K&N Pro Series West rookie of the year and the season finale race at Kern County Raceway Park in California. Knaus moved up to the No. 16 car, Gilliland’s car last year, for the team. Deegan moves into the No. 19 car vacated by Knaus.

Deegan is fairly new to stock cars, but not to racing. It is only her second full year in stock car racing, but she has been racing off-road trucks for the past eight years. She will be racing late models with High Point Racing at Irwindale Speedway in addition to racing in the K&N Pro Series.

She admits it took some time before she was comfortable in stock cars of any kind.

“At first I was actually a little nervous,” Deegan said. “Maybe I’m not ready for that yet, because I haven’t had that much time on asphalt.”

She tested with Bill McAnally Racing in October. After the test, McAnally asked if she would be interested in racing for him.

“After that test, I felt like I was ready and that I could do it,” Deegan said. “I’ve just been putting in the seat time to be faster and run up front.”

McAnally told NASCAR.com before the K&N Pro Series season started that he is looking forward to having Deegan as part of his team.

“We look forward to being a big part of Hailie’s development as she takes this next step in her racing career,” McAnally said. “We anticipate great things ahead for everybody, including our partners and fans.”

NASCAR, K&N Pro Series, Hailie Deegan, Bill McAnally Racing

Hailie Deegan is the 16-year-old daughter of X Games star Brian Deegan.

Her plan is to run the entire K&N Pro Series West and select K&N Pro Series East events. Her first K&N Pro Series was at at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida earlier in February.

“I feel like I’m really comfortable in my car,” Deegan said. “I think it compares more to a late model. It contradicts almost. The late models don’t have much motor, but they’re light. K&N cars, they’re heavy and they have a ton of motor.”

Her first race in the K&N Pro Series did not go as planned. A fuel pump broke in her car early in the K&N Pro Series East season opener at New Smyrna Speedway. She completed on 19 laps and had to withdraw in last and 29th place.

Despite the poor result, Deegan said her team had some successes in their first race together. She qualified ninth for race and maintained her spot once the race started.

“My goal was to qualify in the top 10,” Deegan said. “All of them were fast. All the fast guys came to that first race. Coming out, I qualified ninth, which I felt was really good. I was the youngest one there and the only girl.

“The race went good. I was just running ninth until lap 20 and my fuel pump broke. It was one of those freak things, you can check it, but it broke. I didn’t hit anything. It just broke. There’s nothing you can do about it.”

The first K&N Pro Series West race is March 15 at Kern County Raceway Park in California. In the meantime, she will be racing late models at Irwindale Speedway.

NASCAR, K&N Pro Series, Hailie Deegan, Bill McAnally Racing

NASCAR K&N Pro Series driver Hailie Deegan will race for Bill McAnally Racing in 2018.

“That’s going to majorly help me in the K&N car,” Deegan said.

Whether it’s in the K&N Pro Series or late models at Irwindale Speedway, Deegan will be racing every weekend until November. She has at least four off-road races she wants to enter as well. He racing schedule is full for the next few months.

“I’m at the track at least four days a week, that’s like the minimum, and like racing every single weekend,” Deegan said. “My last weekend off is going to be this upcoming weekend and that’s it for the year.”

One of the races she is looking forward to is the dirt track race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With an off-road truck racing background, she said the Las Vegas dirt track will play to her strengths.

“That’s the one I feel like that will be my shining point,” Deegan said. “I came from racing off-road trucks.”

She started racing off-road trucks when she was 8-years-old and won four off-road racing championships.

“I think that off-road truck stuff, that’s definitely helping me in the stock cars,” Deegan said. “I love racing on dirt. That’s my background, That’s where I came from. It’s what I’m really good at naturally. I think it’s transferring over good to stock cars. I know how to move a car around and how to slide a car. It comes natural.”

The K&N brand has become synonymous with stock car racing, Deegan said. K&N has supported Deegan since her off-road racing days and she is grateful to continue her racing career with their support.

“It’s like the K&N Series. Everything is K&N, K&N.” Deegan said. “You don’t even know K&N is the actual company. Everything is the K&N Series, K&N West, K&N East.”

NASCAR K&N Pro Series Starts 2018 Race Season with a Logo Update and Other Changes


The 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series launched a few changes at the Season Opener at New Smyrna in Florida in February. The most noticeable change is a new logo for the K&N Pro Series East and West. Other changes include the tires teams will be required to use and the practice procedures the teams will have to follow.

The logo for the K&N Pro Series will feature the new NASCAR mark that will be used throughout the stock car series. The five developmental series, including the K&N Pro Series, are making the change. The new NASCAR mark was introduced in 2017 and replaced the previous one used since 1976. NASCAR worked with RARE Design to develop the new symbol for the stock car racing sanctioning body.

The K&N Pro Series will introduce a radial tire produced by Goodyear in place of the bias-ply type tires the teams in the series were using. The new radial tires are similar to the ones used by teams in the Camping World Truck Series, Xfinity Series and Monster Energy Cup Series.

The drivers in the K&N Pro Series are excited about making the switch to the radial tires. But the tires are more expensive than the bias-ply tires, which increases operations costs for the teams.

NASCAR, Rev Racing, K&N Pro Series, Ruben Garcia

Ruben Garcia will race for Rev Racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2018.

Ruben Garcia, who won the NASCAR Mexico Series championship in 2017 and will be racing in the K&N Pro Series East for Rev Racing in 2018, said it has been an adjustment racing on the new Goodyear tires, but the results are encouraging.

“The tires are different,” Garcia said. “The tires we used in Mexico we can run pretty hard almost all the time. With the Goodyear tires we use in the K&N Series, you have to take a lot of care of them. That was another thing I had to pay a lot of attention to and get used to in order to run better.”

Julia Landauer, a driver in the K&N Pro Series West, said using the new tires makes sense for drivers who are working their way through the development system in NASCAR.

“I’m glad to see that they made that change,” Landauer said. “It’s a different compound. The radial tires are what they race in ARCA, Trucks, Xfinity and Cup. It seemed a little weird to have a development series -- now they’re more expensive -- but it seemed a little weird to have a development series where you don’t get to race the type of tire you race in all the series above. I think it’s good they made that change.”

The K&N Pro Series will feature longer races in 2018. Some of the events will increase by 25 laps. This will prepare drivers and crews for advancement in NASCAR.

Finally, all private testing will be eliminated at NASCAR-sanctioned events for the K&N Pro Series. Drivers and teams will have an extra day of practice at stand-alone and combined events in the K&N Pro Series.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East heads to Bristol Motor Speedway on April 14th. The K&N Pro Series West kicks-off at Kern County Raceway Park in California on March 15.

Ryan Vargas Will Race for Rev Racing in the 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East

Ryan Vargas used his experience racing in California when he went to the NASCAR Drive for Diversity combine at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida. He said the track in Florida reminded him of Kern County Raceway Park in California. He went into the combine the same way he prepared for races at Kern County. It paid off with a seat on the Rev Racing team in the K&N Pro Series East.

NASCAR, K&N Pro Series East, Ryan Vargas, Rev Racing

Ryan Vargas will race for Rev Racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2018.

Vargas made his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East debut at New Smyrna Speedway on February 11th and the 17-year-old driver from La Mirada, Calif. expressed his excitement before the season started. “It’s the first race and really my first time in a K&N car,” Vargas said. “That’s where the Drive for Diversity combine was at. It was at New Smyrna Speedway. I attacked it a lot like how I did with Kern County Raceway back at home. It drove a lot like that place.”

Vargas joins a team with a successful history. Kyle Larson and Bubba Wallace, both NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series drivers, raced for Rev in the K&N Pro Series East. Daniel Suarez, who races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, was one of the Rev Racing drivers as he worked his way up the NASCAR ladder.

Vargas said he wants to add to the Rev Racing legacy.

“I definitely want to get a win. I see a whole bunch of banners hung around the shop from Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace, and Daniel Suarez from their past wins when they raced with Rev,” Vargas said. “Hopefully I can get a win by the end of the year and that would be a great goal. But in the end, my main goal is to get rookie of the year and run strong in every race.”

NASCAR, K&N Pro Series East, Ryan Vargas, Rev Racing

Ryan Vargas is in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity Program and will drive for Rev Racing in 2018.

Vargas will be a rookie in the K&N Pro Series East in 2018. He is grateful for the opportunity to race for a team with a successful track record.

“These past few years have been very up and down for us,” Vargas said. “We’ve had a lot of great success with my family team. It’s been really hard funding wise. It’s been hard to keep up.”

“To have the opportunity of a lifetime to come here and race K&N East cars with Rev is very humbling to me. I know I am going to take every advantage of it. I am also really excited to learn as much as I can with this program, learn about the cars, working inside the garage, and getting my fitness on track.”

The majority of Vargas’ experience comes from racing late models, trucks, bandoleros and street stocks at Irwindale Speedway and The Orange Show in California and the Bullring in Las Vegas. He doesn’t have much experience in the K&N Pro Series cars. He will only have one day of testing before his first race at New Smyrna Speedway.

“I’m really excited for it, after talking with a lot of friends who have raced K&N, like my friends Noah Gragson and Will Rodgers, a lot of them have told me that they are just really heavy, but really fast,” Vargas said. “I am going to go into it with the mindset of trying to turn a street stock. Those things are very heavy and very hard to steer. I am going to go into it with a different mindset as well of trying to be as smooth as I can, while being able to get as much as I can out of the car every single race.”

NASCAR, K&N Pro Series East, Ryan Vargas, Rev Racing

Ryan Vargas speaks onstage after being presented with the Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award.

Vargas also takes pride in his knowledge in the garage. He likes to work on the cars as much as he likes driving them. In his late model days racing at Irwindale Speedway and the Orange Show, he spent a considerable amount of time in the garage and the pits. He wants that to stay the same at Rev Racing.

“When I come off the track I want to be able to say what I need changed on the car,” Vargas said. “Not just come off the track and say, ‘oh it’s tight, oh it’s loose.’ I want to be able to come off the track and say we need to do this adjustment there. There’s still a lot of ground for me to make up though. I’m definitely not the one to ask a lot of questions on cars. I feel like I am at a place right now that I’ve never been. That is where I can actually diagnose a car a lot better than I ever have been able to.”

Having K&N make a commitment to the series makes a lot of difference, Vargas said. He is excited to be part of the K&N Pro Series East as a rookie.

“It means a lot to have a company like K&N to sponsor the series,” Vargas said. “It shows that the series has so much potential that a great company like them would want to jump on board. It also shows that the series itself is a very good series not just to be in, but also to watch.

“It’s definitely been all worth it. All the hard work has come to this. I am grateful for that.”

The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Switches to Four-Wide Racing

The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is jumping on the four-wide racing bandwagon. It will be the second track in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series to have four-wide racing. The first four-wide event in Las Vegas will be in April 2018 for the Denso Auto Parts Nationals and the 33rd running of the K&N Horsepower Challenge.


Greg Anderson K and N

zMAX Dragway in North Carolina was the first track to offer four-wide racing. NHRA Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson said it took some time to get used to the four-wide format, but he readily admits it’s a fun event to watch and race in. Anderson, who drives for KB Racing and was the runner-up in the NHRA Pro Stock standings in 2017, said that during the first year of four-wide racing in North Carolina racers had called it crazy and a ridiculous way to race. Some didn’t want to race four-wide again after the first event. “Then the next year it got a little bit easier. The next year, a little bit easier,” Anderson said. “You learn more every year. We didn’t like it to begin with because it was so different. Some of us went out there and looked like fools, made mistakes that you think a rookie driver would make. Once we got a few of them under our belts, it became fine.”

It took time, but the four-wide races in North Carolina turned into one of the more anticipated events. Anderson said the four-wide event in Las Vegas will have the same appeal to drivers and fans. “It’s honestly become one of the more fun races,” Anderson said. “It draws a great crowd, obviously the spectators love it. I think it’s a good move. I’m excited about it.”


Jason Line Las Vegas 4-track

Anderson added that NHRA is not overdoing it either with four-wide events with one or two a year seeming like the right amount.

“If you do it one time a year, by the time it rolls around the next year, you kind of forgotten all the little things you learned the year before how to do it,” Anderson said. “If we do it twice a year, that will make it even easier for us to get a handle on it. The more you do it, the better you get at it. I’m not afraid of it like I used to be.”

Jason Line, Anderson’s teammate at KB Racing, said he isn’t a huge fan of four-wide racing. But he understands how much fans like it and he looks forward to the challenge it brings to racers and crews. “It’s certainly different,” Line said. “If I had to pick and choose, would I choose to race four wide? Maybe not. At the same time it’s something different, exciting. The fans like it. At least they seem to like it. I'm OK with it. It’s definitely different.”

Construction of the new four-lane drag strip is expected to be completed in February.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to do a little bit of drag racing on it in March with some of our local guys to get it broken in before we have the national event,” said Jeff Motley, the vice president of public relations at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “The four-wide has been a huge success at the zMAX Dragway in Charlotte. This is an opportunity for us to bring four-wide drag racing to people on the West Coast who probably never had the opportunity to experience four-wide drag racing.”


Winners Circle Las Vegas

“It’s going to be a great event because people can see four-wide in the spring and still see two-wide in the fall, a little bit of the best of both worlds.”

Chris McGaha won the four-wide event in the Pro Stock division in North Carolina last year. Steve Torrence won Top Fuel, Ron Capps won Funny Car and LE Tonglet won Pro Stock Motorcycle. The four-wide event in Las Vegas is the fourth event on the NHRA schedule and is set for April 6-8.

“All in all it’s fun. Still a fun weekend,” Line said. “It’ll be entertaining to watch for sure.”

NHRA Pro Stock Drivers Jason Line, Bo Butner & Greg Anderson Ready for 2018 Season


Jason Line Racing

NHRA Pro Stock driver Bo Butner capped a Cinderella season by winning his first pro division championship and the season finale at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona in November. Butner saw plenty of competition at the season opener in Pomona in February, but he was able to go home with the Wally again.


Bo Butner Celebration

When the 2017 season started, six Pro Stock drivers claimed victory in the first six races and 2018 is off to a similar start with Butner winning at Pomona and Chris McGaha winning at the Arizona Nationals.

Butner’s first win in 2017 came at Texas, the fifth event of the season. He went on to win five NHRA Pro Stock events in his first full season in Pro Stock. “Just never give up,” Butner said after winning the November event in Pomona. “I have a great crew; it’s amazing. They don’t give up on me. But the KB team, what does that say about them? Honestly, I rent a car and a motor and they put me in a championship. It’s just unbelievable. Thank the Lord for everything; He shined on me.”


Greg Anderson Racing

Anderson entered the season finale in Pomona as the leader in the Pro Stock standings. Butner was second, 40 points behind Anderson, who was in pursuit of his first Pro Stock title since 2010. Anderson lost to Butner in the semifinals at Pomona and slowly dropped out of contention for the championship. “There’s always a personal letdown when you don’t personally get it done,” Anderson said. “It’s great for the team. The team had a great year. At the time, it was a tough pill to swallow when I lost at the world finals there. A day or two later, you get over that and realize the big picture was fantastic.”

KB Racing took the top-three spots in the Pro Stock standings. KB Racing’s Line was third in the Pro Stock standings. All three drivers know the bar is set high for the team and they want to continue the success they all experienced in 2017. “I didn’t end like I wanted it to. I didn’t win the championship,” Line said. “We had a good year really. KB Racing as a whole, we finished 1-2-3 Can’t be mad about that.”

Anderson said he thinks KB Racing has the right formula for success. Having Butner win by leasing cars and equipment through KB Racing will give other racers an opportunity to perhaps enter the Pro Stock ranks. “It’s a neat deal, a really cool story,” Anderson said. “It does a lot for the class. It proves to other people they can do it a different way. They can go lease an engine, lease a car from one of the big teams and compete for championships. You couldn’t say that 10 years ago, the class wasn’t like that 10 years ago.”

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads to Gainesville March 15-18 for the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals.