Loma Linda, California’s Greg Boutte had a lot more than lady luck on his side during the 12th annual Big O Tires NHRA Nationals. Boutte used some great skill to whittle his way through a slew of tough Super Comp racers to take his K&N worthy dragster all the way to the championship round, where he just fell short to fellow K&N racer, Luke Bogacki.
Greg Boutte drives the K&N sponsored NHRA Super Comp dragster
Many of the racers that were on hand for the NHRA national event had just competed at the venue two weeks prior, which gave them additional data to be fairly dialed in coming into the Big O event. “My car was very consistent during the race two weeks ago,” said Boutte. “We had some headwind most of the time during that race and that just parlayed into being able to dial for the same type of winds that we were faced with during the time runs for this national event. I was very happy with our two time runs. The car was within one thousandth of a second between the lanes and my lights were there. Going into first round, I’m really feeling like I have a very good car.”
Like many racers, Boutte has a routine that he likes to stick with, especially his thoughts on how to set up for first round reaction time. “I always add one hundredth to the delay box,” he explained. “I had .016 in the box from the last time we raced there and added the ten. So I had .026 in the box, but ended up being forty on the tree, thankfully since they had a .018 light, I was able to outdrive them at the top end.”
After sending Pierce home in round one, Boutte would next face Punch Johnson in round two. “I still had another forty light, but my competition went red. So for round three I decided to take that ten out of the box.”
With a new game plan for the starting line, Boutte lined up his K&N dragster next to Val Torres Jr. Boutte grabbed a huge starting line advantage with his .030 to Torres Jr.’s .068, and held on to push his competitor way under the 9.05 Super Comp index.
Greg Boutte uses K&N products all over his NHRA Super Comp dragster
Boutte was now moving on to run on championship Sunday and after waiting until just after noon to get back on the track, he would now pair up with Mandy Quigley. Again the win light came on for Boutte and with both drivers leaving just a hair too quick, this time it was thanks to the “first or worst” rule. Quigley popped the red bulb on by .007 and even though Boutte’s time slip showed he was .004 early, it would be yet another round win for the K&N racer.
“That moved me on to the quarter-finals and then I knew I would be facing Tommy Phillips,” remarked Boutte. “He’s one of the best racers out there. I knew I was going to need to set up to be pretty honest and just do whatever I could to get ahead of him off the starting line. This was the first time I ever lined up to race him and I know he’s good, you know anybody that can double up at a national event as many times as he has, let alone just win in one of the Super Classes.”
“So, I was back to the .026 in my delay box,” he continued. “I was .033 on the tree to his .034. I ended up losing time in sixty foot, so I only ended up running an eight (9.08) and ironically, he missed the tune-up, too and ran way off, thinking I was breaking out and I got the stripe.”
Phillips was just the first of the giants to fall at the hand of Boutte. After the great quarterfinal round win, Boutte would find another heavy hitter in the other lane, Al Kenny. “He was .020 on the tree to my .017 and he gave the stripe back to me,” noted Boutte. “I thank him for that. [smiles] It was a very close stripe, right around a foot.”
After some tremendous driving and decision making, it was two down and the one final giant to go, Luke Bogacki. Boutte admits that over the course of the rounds leading up to the final, he continued to try to speed the car up, or take time out of the throttle stop, to compensate for the changing track conditions.
“There was just no groove out there for the final round,” he pointed out. “I’ve just never seen the track look like that for a final round, not even that way at all on a Sunday at a national event.”
“Well, I’m .018 on the tree to his .005 and you’re racing Bogacki, who is one of the best racers in the country and he bracket races for a living. At that point, I was pretty well done,” he admitted. “He caught me at about five hundred feet. He just sat over there and did everything but wave at me and ask what I wanted from the grocery store. [laughs] So, his win light comes on, but I still did better than a hundred and eight other racers and the six other racers I ran before him.”
Always keeping it light, Boutte reflects on the moments after the final round when he and the other finalists were filling out their contingency paperwork. “I yelled over at Bogacki and said, ‘Hey you’re a bracket guy. How about a buyback?’ Well, he wasn’t having any of that, but I gave him ten bucks for the weekend as a mulligan,” he joked.
Boutte looks to have some additional success with his 2002 Worthy K&N dragster and its 598ci BBC before the end of the season. “So many companies make what I do possible and it was great getting into my fifth NHRA national event final,” he stated. “Folks like Hughes, Hoosier and of course K&N with the consistent products, parts and pieces are what help me make it happen out there.”
“Last fall during the Seattle race, I made the switch from a K&N wrench-off filter to try one of the new K&N Billet reusable oil filters,” he added. “What I noticed when I made the change was not only a little more oil pressure, but it doesn’t drop like it used to, and that’s just due to being able to take advantage of the additional flow the new filters provide.”
“So many of us race dragsters and it is such an easy thing that you can do and that’s to add a K&N filter and scoop,” he said. “Especially the K&N filter. With so many of these tracks that we run where there are more rocks and particles that can get into your engine without a filter, it’s a very easy way to not only help protect your investment in your motor, but to help keep it running better. I know that the K&N filters all over my dragster have each done their job, from protecting my fuel cell from sucking in dirt to so much more.”
“It’s what helps us keep going out there,” he continued. “Using products from companies like K&N that protect and provide additional confidence, so all we have to worry about is going out there and doing our jobs as drivers.”
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.