Drag Illustrated Issue 180, January / February 2023 - Page 38


and gather much steam . The powerful engine shop and young driver proved effective immediately , as Caruso raced to top speed of the meet at the season opener and was the No . 1 qualifier and runner-up in just her fifth Pro Stock race , the NHRA Springnationals in Houston . Caruso will join the newly formed KBTR team this season .
The proven Titan Racing Engines assets previously located in Denver , North Carolina , are in the process of being moved to their new home in Mooresville – where the most winning driver in Pro Stock , five-time world champion Greg Anderson – has been stationed with his race team for many years . Not only will the equipment be combined to round out the race shop with the best of the best , the staff will also be moving over to the Mooresville location to create a powerful force behind the scenes .
“ That includes Stevie Johns and Mike Smith ,” said Latino , referring to the key staples in the Denver engine shop . Johns , a master machinist , worked alongside Bill “ Grumpy ” Jenkins , and engine builder Smith was a student of Warren
“ the Professor ” Johnson . Johns and Smith were also integral in the careers of other champion drag racers and engine builders , including Victor Cagnazzi and the Gray Motorsports team .
“ These guys are just so talented , and they ’ ve been part of extremely successful operations ,” Latino continued . “ To bring them together with Greg Anderson , Rob Downing , Dave Connolly , and all of the talent in the Mooresville race shop – that ’ s a lot of knowledge under one roof . The really exciting part is that we ’ ve already started sharing information and realizing what we can do together . We were good as two separate teams , but we ’ ve taken the two best East Coast powerhouses and found that we ’ re going to be much , much stronger together . We ’ ve got the best of the best , all under one roof .”
The drivers who race out of the Mooresville shop will remain largely the same , with the potential of additional drivers joining the fold in the near future .
“ This is incredibly exciting for all of us ,” said Latino , whose experience in drag racing has been from the standpoint of both driver and team owner . “ We have Ken Black to thank for starting a team that accomplished so much under his direction , and really , it ’ s an honor to be able to carry on the iconic brand . Combining resources between the two powerhouses of Titan Racing Engines and KB Racing , we ’ ve expanded our potential in a way that has already even surprised us .”
The KB Titan Racing shop is already humming with activity in preparation for a strong , united push into the 2023 season of NHRA ’ s Camping World Drag Racing Series . The KB Titan Racing CNC machines have been cutting chips , engine blocks are in the machining process , and cylinder heads are under construction based on the historic team ’ s fresh , collaborative knowledge , and for Greg Anderson , the hum is pleasing and promising .
“ It ’ s no secret that it was very sad for us to see Ken Black retire – he ’ s meant so much to us through the years , and he will always be part of this team . He ’ s the heart of the team , to be honest , and that will never change ,” said Anderson . “ Father Time had his say in this one . Ken and Judy made the right decision for themselves and their family – and you can ’ t help but be happy for the people you care about . But we had to find the next Ken Black , and that wasn ’ t an easy thing to do . When it ’ s all said and done , I think we came pretty close , and I ’ m really excited about the future of this team .” DI
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