K&N's Greg Ventura Grabs 2012 Winternationals Super Gas Championship

       Printer Image
Bob Harris' Maui Style Pontiac Grand Am
Bob Harris' Maui Style Pontiac Grand Am
Greg Ventura knocked out Jimmy Lewis at the 52nd annual O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals to gain the 2012 Winternationals Super Gas Championship title running 9.926 seconds at 141.12 mph in his Ventura Motorsports 1966 Chevy Nova.

While much of the country is still hunkered down for the winter, K&N employees Steve Williams, Bob Harris, Greg Ventura, Greg Boutte and Kevin McClelland geared up to compete against one another, at one of the more prestigious events on the NHRA calendar, the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. As many are familiar with, K&N Engineering is greatly involved in a vast variety of motorsports and that includes many of its employees who actively participate in one or more classes on the NHRA circuit each season. With a near perfect weather forecast for the southern California event, the crew from K&N who work together side-by-side on a daily basis look forward to getting back to the action and the sport of drag racing that each are so passionate about.
Steve Williams' 1963 Corvette Sarmento chassis roadster
Steve Williams' 1963 Corvette Sarmento chassis roadster

Steve Williams, K&N's Vice President of Product Development and Engineering, was more than looking forward to the event and taking care of some unfinished business. "The last three years I have been Runner up twice," he pointed out. "It's time to put this one to bed and win it!"

Williams was once again be behind the wheel of his well-known 1963 Corvette Sarmento chassis roadster powered by a 565ci Brodix BBC in Super Gas and his 2008 T&T dragster with a 622ci Brodix BBC in Super Comp. "We just freshened the motors, put on new Hoosier tires and otherwise no changes made from last season," he said. "It's great that so many people race here at K&N because we are all looking to improve our products and their performance along with making sure they fit. I am running our new lifetime oil filter on both cars along with carbon K&N hood scoops and air filters."
Greg Ventura's 1966 Chevy Nova
Greg Ventura's 1966 Chevy Nova

Also competing in the 9.90 index class was K&N's Bob Harris, who was chomping at the bit for that first pass down the quarter mile. "I've done well at Pomona in the past," said K&N's Corporate Race Accounts Manager. "I have been to the semis a couple of times and won the K&N Winternationals back in 2004. We have a brand new Vrbancic Bros Racing 572 bullet under the hood. The motor is making more power and torque, so that should be good. I'm just excited to get back in the driver's seat after having the motor break on our very first time trial last year."

Harris competed in his uncle's 2002 Gary Hansen Race Cars Pontiac Grand Am with hopes to not only do very well, but stay away from his co-workers as long as possible. "It's great to work with a bunch of guys here at K&N that are passionate about racing. Unfortunately, we all compete against each other in the same classes, so that is the downside. Bottom line, we're all there to win and win for K&N."
Greg Boutte's 2002 Worthy dragster
Greg Boutte's 2002 Worthy dragster

K&N Product Specialist, Greg Boutte was looking to secure a Super Comp win in his 2002 Worthy dragster, but not with the familiar 598ci motor that he is accustomed to competing with. "Last year at the World Finals, I broke a tip of a valve," he noted. "The valves that I want are not quite available yet, so a friend of mine loaned me a 565 to use until I get my motor back together. I will be using Wayne's motor for Pomona, Phoenix and the Phoenix divisional. Even though I won't be using my motor, I still will be protecting the engine with the brand new K&N reusable, washable oil filter along with K&N air filters on everything I own and drive, right down to the rig that gets me to and from the events."

Boutte is no stranger to the winner's circle at the famed facility and he would have loved to add a win at the Winternationals to his victory during the 2009 World Finals. "I average about four rounds at Pomona," he said. "Most of the K&N crew compete in Super Gas, so it's only Steve Williams that I need to worry about staying away from in Super Comp. In twenty years, I've only met up with him three times."

Another Super Gas entry for the NHRA Winternationals was Kevin McClelland, Special Projects Manager for K&N. McClelland has been hitting the NHRA scene with his current 1927 Ford Davis built roadster since 2000 and just prior to the commencement of last season, completely updated the car and chassis to kept it not only current, but safe. "The car was completely rebuilt with lots of new upgrades, new engine last year, but during this off-season I had to replace the transmission and I made lots of upgrades to make it pretty much bulletproof," he explained.

McClelland was looking forward to the opportunity to repeat history with a shot to win not only the season opener at Pomona, but to come back and do it again during the World Finals, as he did in grand style winning both events in 1997. "It's a great race for myself and my family because we live here and lots of our friends are here," he explained. "Working together and then racing together with so many of the guys from K&N is a great thing. With Super Gas being random pairing first round, we do a good job of staying away from each other, but after that, all bets are off. Should we come up against one another, we race it straight up. I don't care if it's Williams or any one of them, we are going to do whatever we can out there to cut each other's throat."

Greg Ventura is yet another K&N employee who was looking for a Super Gas National Event win at Pomona and got it. Ventura's 1966 Chevy Nova is equipped with a 565ci BBC and he has been racing in the car since the 1999 season. The Material Lifecycle Analyst for K&N also has a car that he has competed with since 1993 in Super Street [10.90 index class]. "Since last year, we have just done the typical off-season stuff to both cars, freshen the motors, trannys, new tires and things like that," he said. "The cars are completely protected with K&N products, the oil filters, the air filters, which even have the K&N dry chargers on them."

"It's really fun to go to events like this and get to see everyone away from the office," he continued. "For all of us to be able to get out there and do our thing, it's kind of a way to release and do the things we all love to do. Yes, we are able to not meet up first round, but if we do get paired up once we are on the ladder, [laughs] you are bound to find some hurt feelings come Monday morning."

Find K&N products for your vehicle using the K&N application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.

Horizontal Advertisement

Did you like this story? Select 1 to 5 stars to rate it.

K&N Engineering in Riverside California is the world's leading manufacturer of washable performance air filters and air intake systems. K&N invented the reusable high flow cotton air filter in 1969 and has been perfecting the technology ever since. K&N is a world class filtration company selling air filters, oil filters, and intakes in over 30 countries. K&N sells over 5,000 products designed for cars, trucks, motorcycles, engines, and industrial applications. From their Million Mile Warranty to their Consumer Protection Pledge, K&N stands behind their products and their consumers 100%. The distinctive K&N logo represents performance from one of the original performance companies. For more information, visit