An Interview with Jonathan Fiello - Chief Engineering Officer
There's a reason that K&N is known for world-class excellence in engineering, and it all starts with our employees. The following interview is with an employee who is not only an experienced engineer, but also a veteran racer and car builder. After spending the last two decades at K&N, Jonathan Fiello, our Chief Engineering Officer, sat down with us to share some of his favorite memories of working at K&N so far.
What year did you start working at K&N?
2001 – I actually started the day after Christmas.
What makes you most excited to come to work?
I always wanted to work in the automotive industry, but specifically aftermarket parts. This industry is exciting, and knowing that every day I get to work on car parts and talk car shop is special. The people at K&N help make it exciting too.
What is your favorite memory from your work at K&N?
There are so many. Going to the General Motors wind tunnel 10 years ago was a good memory. I worked on our carbon fiber hood scoops for the NHRA Pro Stock class, and going from a concept to prototype, and then to testing in the wind tunnel was special. And then to see it mass-produced and on race cars showcased all of K&N’s abilities. Another good memory was being on the TV show "House". Both of the dragsters featured on the show were mine at the time, and I was driving the K&N car while my brother drove the other. It was filmed at the Fairplex in Pomona on Labor Day weekend. It took all day and we were treated really well during the entire filming.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your drag racing career?
I’ve been drag racing for 25 years now. I started the day I got my license. My first car was a 1963 Nova SS, which I restored with the help of my dad. I drove it for a year in high school, but it was tough to drive on the street because of all the modifications I made to it to drag race. I’ve had several dragsters, and raced in Super Comp, Super Eliminator, Top Comp, Top Dragster & ET Bracket Racing in NHRA.
Why are you so passionate about racing?
Drag racing is challenging, and that’s what is so intriguing to me. The driving is one aspect, but the setup is where I lose sleep at night. I’ve won races, and then two days later had the car torn apart, and people would ask me why. "It isn't perfect," is my answer. I’ve always built as much of the car as I can, specifically the engine and parts of the chassis. My current car, a 1967 Chevelle, I built everything from the engine, paint, roll cage, etc. It took me two years. My background in Engineering is what drives the obsession and setup of a drag car and in automotive in general.
Have you applied your racing experience to your career at K&N?
I’ve gotten some valuable feedback over the years at the drag races. Competitors are consumers of K&N products, and they use them on their race cars, tow vehicles, generators, and homes. It's been great to provide recommendations and hear feedback because I can take it back to the team for future products.