The defending 2012 NHRA Super Comp world champion, Al Kenny just might be working on keeping that number one on his Dan Page dragster. During his most recent outing, for the 4th annual Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Concord, North Carolina, Kenny whipped his way through six rounds to put his JEGS/K&N Engineering ride into the Super Comp winner’s circle.
Al Kenny puts his JEGS/K&N Engineering Super Comp dragster in the winner’s circle
4th annual Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals win for Al Kenny
Time runs for the sportsman classes were conducted on Friday morning of the event, well before the rain came in and washed out most of the day’s on-track activities. With such a change in air and track conditions the following morning for first round of eliminations, Kenny refers to the time runs the day before as more of “exhibition runs”, since there wasn’t a whole lot of info drivers gained from their first day on the track that could be used on Saturday.
“The data was showing almost a tenth and a half faster Saturday morning than the day before,” Kenny explained. “That is a tricky track anyway with the winds. We had some tailwinds, but it’s kind of a stadium style track, so you’re not really sure where the winds are picking you up. That one and Chicago are probably the two worst because the winds get to swirling around.”
With everyone pretty much in the same boat when it came to lack of data for round one on Saturday morning, Kenny pointed out the air and track conditions were certainly leaning to the cool side. “It was cold Saturday morning, even by Canadian standards,” he joked. “My tires were chucking pretty hard and as I came up on [Ed] Richardson, I saw the back end of his car start to waggle a little bit, so I thought, well this is good for me. Basically the cold track meant a super slow race and I didn’t think it was a close as it was down there until I saw the time slip.”
That would set Kenny up to meet Chuck Westcott and his 1996 Beretta in round two. “There’s a big mile-per-hour difference between us, so I tried to dial it close,” he said. “He was way out on me and I knew there was no way I was getting there. With that massive air change and everyone was dead slow in round one, because I think the track was so cold, most of us ran mid-nineties, so we knew we couldn’t go back up there and run a ninety-five and hope to win the round. So, I’m just guessing here, but that he sped it up to make sure that he ran at least a ninety and by that point the track is better and he was way fast.”
NHRA Super Comp champion Al Kenny
Round three, Kenny and his K&N dragster would face Todd Kujawa who in the previous round did not get a hit at the tree and that may have been the reason for his very late light. “When I went past the tree I thought holy cow his stage light is still on,” laughed Kenny. “Actually, it wasn’t to that extreme, but I’m getting better at saying man, I think I got that one and that time I was absolutely sure.”
Kenny used his .022 to Kujawa’s .090 to safely take the stripe with ease and move on to the quarterfinals to pair up with Ken Griffiths. There, Kenny turned on the win light in his lane once again with his lesser of two evils double breakout, 8.888 to his opponent’s 8.871, thanks in part to his one full hundredth starting line advantage.
The semifinal would be the round Kenny would consider his “lucky” round of the weekend after making it past Danny Waters Jr. “That was just me tightening it up almost a little too much,” Kenny admitted of the .0003 margin of victory at the stripe. “Again, I didn’t think it was that close and I had backed into him and saw my win light come on. Now, if you would have asked me before I got to the ticket booth, I would have said yeah, it was close but maybe like five thou or so and I had no idea it was three ten-thou.”
Kenny was now moving into the Super Comp championship round to line up with Jason Lynch where it would be a quick one when Lynch turned it red.
“My four rounds on Sunday, my sixty foot only moved three thou,” Kenny pointed out. “My window was tremendous [range of reaction times] and for the final, we just bumped up the launch RPM. I was like .022 to .026 every hit and feeling like I’m really hitting it, so apparently that’s all I got, so we gave it some more RPM. Honestly, two-hundred RPM shouldn’t have moved it up that much, so I’m guessing that final round adrenaline, better concentration or a combination of above, well I came up double-oh.”
“That was kinda cool,” he continued about his reaction time. “I was happy to see the red-light, but had he not been red, I think I would have had a pretty good shot at it with a light like that.”
The reigning NHRA Super Comp champion uses numerous K&N Engineering products not only on his trusty Dan Page dragster that his grabbed the Super Comp Wally with during the national event, but also on the entire fleet of Kenny family race cars that son Jason and Samantha drive. “This dragster has the 2nd Gen K&N composite scoop with the high flowing K&N filter, plus we use the K&N HP-3002 wrench-off oil filter and various other smaller filters on the breather tanks and such.”
While Kenny is pleased with the performance he enjoys with the K&N filters on the race cars, it just may be the excellent results he has experienced getting to and from the events with the addition of the K&N Heavy Duty filter on the team’s semi chassis based motorhome.
“Already this spring, we have had a couple of truck drivers ask us at truck stops about the K&N filters,” Kenny said. “When Greg Boutte at K&N had us try them, he told us we wouldn’t down shift going up hills. I thought, OK that’s the salesperson in him and wow, let me tell you, you can feel the difference. Going up hills with the rig is incredible. Like the big hill on I-77 coming out of Charlotte when you hit the Virginia line [approximately 1,500 ft climb over a six-mile grade], the last third of that, I used to go up in ninth gear at about 35 MPH. The last two trips with my K&N air filter, I’m going up in eleventh gear at 55 MPH.”
“I mean that’s huge,” he stressed of the results. “Well, diesels are all about compression and if it’s flowing a lot more air, well the compression is going to be a lot better and I can tell, more power.”
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