Pro Stock Team Owner Said Communication With GM Was Minimal Following Simmonds Departure …
Ken Black congratulates fellow GM Pro Stock team owner Victor Cagnazzi following the 2007 NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. Both Black and Cagnazzi received letters from GM discontinuing their respective programs. (NHRA.com photo)
Ken Black received a Fed-Ex letter yesterday and the contents came as no surprise to the NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock team owner.
Inside was a notice from GM which stated they were officially cutting ties with his KB Racing, LLC as well as with Cagnazzi Racing, Cruz Pedregon and Kurt Johnson.
Black’s team consists of former world champions Greg Anderson and Jason Line.
“I knew it was coming, I was forewarned,” Black told CompetitionPlus.com on Wednesday. “That’s why they [GM] filed bankruptcy … to get rid of all of this stuff.”
The stuff Black refers to is the monetary funding his teams received as well as support vehicles and free parts.
“The biggest thing we are going to lose now are our support vehicles … we get four of them a year,” Black explained. “We’ll be turning those in as soon as they advise us to.”
Black said there’s a strong likelihood that GM will allow him to purchase the returned vehicles, a practice he said is new to him and if the price is right, he’ll consider the option.
Black admitted the relationship between his team and GM had deteriorated to a trickle of communication since the departure of Drag Racing Marketing Manager Fred Simmonds last October.
“Fred was our direct link and when he left that was pretty much the end,” Black said.
Black further stated that if he chooses a different manufacturer his options are limited to Ford because as he sees it, “Chrysler is in the same boat with GM with the bankruptcy.” He did confirm that his KB Racing team had discussed a Toyota program with representatives of the company but that was several years ago.
“We’ll have the parts and pieces to finish the year and beyond,” Black said. “Getting parts shouldn’t be a problem because we are told they will still make those. We’ll just have to pay for them.”
KB Racing runs the DRCE3 combination along with Kurt and Warren Johnson. Others running the DRCE2 combination could be in trouble for the future as the production of that line is in question.
For Black, losing support from GM is a double whammy. Ever dime saved via their support is now a dime that must be spent to remain at a competitive level. And, GM isn't the only sponsor cutting back. Black, by accident, discovered K&N Filters is not longer paying out a No. 1 qualifier bonus. A story CompetitionPlus.com is working as you read this.
I thought this was interesting, being a big NHRA fan. GM has completely stopped NHRA funding. It will be interesting to see how the void is filled next year. For anybody that's not a fan, Ken Black is kinda like the Rick Hendrick of drag racing.
I've never posted an article before, sorry if I did anything wrong.