But you were getting more comfortable.
Yeah I was getting more comfortable. Things
were getting better and the next year I moved
on to a position with George Marnell as his
crew chief and the races that Troy wanted to
run, we got a motor from George, just like we
had been doing previously with Mark. We were
using Bob Ingalls motors. That was sort
of a tie in; you go work on their car and in
the meantime help them race this year. Ill
foot the bill for the travel and the motor rental
and whatever it takes, and youll still
work for them and drive my car, so thats
how that worked.
In that year with George, Ken Black was a partner
with George. I worked 2001 as a crew chief on
Georges car and drove Georges second
car, which was the black Firebird and we won
two races, at Bristol and Indy.
DRO: Is that
when you first met Ken Black? (Editors
note: Ken Black is the owner of Vegas General
Construction, Andersons primary sponsor
before he signed on with Summit Racing Equipment
shortly after this interview was taped.)
Yeah, things were really progressing then and
getting better and thats where I met Ken
and Ken decided, Ive been doing
this deal with George for six years and really
never had any success, any race wins. Then this
knucklehead comes in here and within the first
year with our backup car he wins the biggest
race of the year. Maybe I need to start something
with this guy. Thats how it all
transpired. It was kind of a rough deal for
George because at the end of the year Ken told
him he was going to go his separate way and
start his own team and he was going to take
me as a driver. So George kinda felt stabbed
in the back because Ken took me away from him.
But Ken had done it for six years already for
George and he was really on his last year. He
was ready to retire; he had had enough and had
spent enough money and when this all happened
Kens son got interested. He was the one
that convinced Ken to go on his own and start
his own team. It really wasnt Kens
decision on his own.
He had nothing against George and I surely
didnt try to steal Ken away from George;
it was all their deal and they begged me to
come drive their car. In 2002 we started up
our own team with
Ken Black Jr. and Sr. as team owners. We bought
all new equipment and new racecars and moved
to Charlotte and set up a shop in part of the
Jerico Transmissions building.
made you choose Charlotte?
I moved to Charlotte because where I was living
in Jacksonville, NC, it was on the coast where
theres not even a freeway within an hour
from there. It was too hard to drive in and
out of and too hard to fly in and out of. We
had to drive two hours to Raleigh just to get
an airplane. It was just too hard getting in
and out of the city; you couldnt find
any kind of racing part around town; and every
time you needed something you had to call around
the country and get it shipped in next day or
two-day or whatever it took. I finally came
to the conclusion that if I was going to do
this full time and for a living and do it right,
I needed to be somewhere more centrally located
where I can have access to race parts.
One of the considerations was Atlanta because
I had several good years there with Warren.
It was a good place to race from, Indy was a
good place, or Charlotte was a good place, and
Charlotte happened to be closer to my wifes
family so we elected to come here. When I came
here I got lucky with who I ran into with Jason
Line and Joe Hornick, my two head engine builders.
I met them by accident.
They worked for Joe Gibbs Racing and heard
that a drag racer came to town, so they came
over and met me one night just to see the operation
because they are old drag racers. They were
working in Winston Cup then, but finally, when
a drag racer came to town they had an interest
again. Thats where it all started with
them. Theyve been great for me; they have
great knowledge from their years of working
in the Winston Cup world with the big budget
theyve got over there. Its really
been great for me. This location has ended up
being good for a lot of reasons, not just the
travel coming in and out of here.
DRO: How did
it feel to finally be a full-time Pro Stock
It was great. The first year with Ken Black
Jr. and Sr. I won two races, had several runner
ups, and finished third in points, so obviously
we were on the right track. I had a great team
owner who really didnt try to scrimp on
things. We didnt squander money; we didnt
throw a lot of money away; but he spent what
it took to do the thing.
The next year I completely changed my crew.
I brought in Rob Downing and Jeff Perley. I
had had Mike Stryker and Pat Barrett, who were
both Warren Johnson disciples, just like I was.
They were great guys, smart guys, and they were
great car tuners and track tuners, but for some
reason we just didnt gel. We didnt
hang out together or socialize together; the
chemistry just wasnt there. We had finished
third and everybody saw how we got better as
the year went on and that we were going to be
a heck of a threat the next year and then I
completely changed the whole team for the next
year. It was a risky move and a lot of people
did not understand it, but the chemistry was
not there and I didnt see that it was
going to be there so I made the change.