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K&N's Steve Williams Battles His Way to NHRA Super Comp Victory During Arizona Nationals

NHRA Super Comp National Event Victory for Steve Williams
NHRA Super Comp National Event Victory for Steve Williams
Vice President of Research and Development at K&N Engineering, Steve Williams maintains an extremely busy schedule, one that does not always afford him the amount of time he would like to spend chasing championships on the NHRA trail. That may be favorable to his fellow competitors, because once Williams does have a chance to compete, he's quite a force to be reckoned with as he proved once again during his latest outing for the 27th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals. Williams took the Super Comp title and narrowly missed adding an appearance in the Super Gas final to his outstanding weekend.
Steve Williams at the 27th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals
Steve Williams at the 27th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals

Williams, of Beaumont, California, points out that it's been a different kind of season for him. "Normally I would race sixteen or seventeen events and this year it's only going to be ten or eleven," he said. "But it's been good."

The weather for the entire event was rather warm, exceeding the ninety degree mark. "I will say this, the track was awesome," he noted of Firebird Int'l Raceway. "They have resurfaced it down there and it was really smooth for us sportsman guys and they did a great job keeping it the way it needed to be."

Competing in his usual Super Comp and Super Gas, Williams was pleased with his two hot rod's right off the bat. "Both the Corvette and the Dragster were real close," he said of the time run E.T.'s. "Had a couple of decent time runs, even though it was really hot. We were supposed to get three [runs], but we only got two. I always like it when you get less time runs. Anytime you get three or four, it always makes it [eliminations] tougher."

Williams slashed his way through the rounds in both Super Comp and Super Gas and admits that the first three rounds in both were some tough ones to get by, including a memorable second round in his TNT Dragster in the 8.90 category. "I had a killer race with a guy named Matthew Harvil who was just two thousandths away from a perfect run," he pointed out of his competitor's 8.899 and .001 light. "I mean I could have been out in Super Comp in second round. The same goes for second round in Super Gas. I was ‘trip-zip' on the tree [.000] and just managed to breakout a few thou less than they did."

Behind the wheel of his K&N '63 Corvette Roadster loaded up with a 565 Chevy, Williams sent Las Vegas native Roger Kato packing after dialing his car much closer to the number and easily taking the stripe with a safe 9.935 on the 9.90 index. In Super Comp, Williams used his full one hundredth of a second starting line advantage to put space between he and Chuck Babcock all while posting a dead-on 8.902 and taking just what he needed at the stripe.

"We went into the fourth round in both Super Gas and Super Comp having a shot at a bye into the final," he said. "So I can get into the final in both categories if I win fourth round. I do look ahead at the ladder and I fully expected to be in the final in both cars." "I ran Super Gas first against [Steve] Casner who ended up winning," he reflected. "I broke out by a couple of thou and missed the tree a little bit. It didn't feel like it, but that's what the time slip said. So in Super Comp, I came around [to the staging lanes] and strangely enough, I had no idea what happened, but the guy I was paired with was a no show."

Nick Saetes was to be Williams fourth round competitor and as Williams points out, was pitted only a few trailers away. "We had lost in Gas and I get in my dragster and head to the lanes," he continued. "The other two pairs are already loaded up with their helmets on and he's not there. I thought he was probably behind me. They were running the rest of the Super Stockers and the guy at the lanes was calling [Saetes] number and he was nowhere around. So I ended up making a single. We get back to the trailer and he walks over and told me that they were standing at the fence watching and the next thing they knew, they see Super Comp cars go down the track and they had just flat missed the call."

"I really felt bad," he admitted. "My goal is to win every round, but I wanna race people. At the same time, I've had some pretty rough luck this year and you just have to do your job and move on."

Williams made his scheduled bye in the semi-final and put a nice package together, making a strong statement of his intentions to take it all in the final, after a .001 and 8.909.

Donny Toia would line up against Williams and it would prove to be a great final round. "We left the line and I knew I hit it [good light] and he hit it," he explained. "I knew what his sixty [foot] was and where he was supposed to be. We leave the line and I'm like OK, we're both on. I knew it was going to come down to the stripe and I basically had the car hard-dialed. I wasn't trying to carry any extra and I honestly thought I might get there by a few thousandths. As we get to the stripe, I'm watching the noses and I can tell he's a little but in front of me."

"As soon as I looked up, I saw my win light come on and I knew we both broke out," he added.

Williams 8.898 to Toia's 8.893 gave him the NHRA Super Comp National Event Victory, making it his fourth National win in five final round appearances.

In addition to all the K&N products that Williams uses, develops and tests on the two cars he not only races, but wins with, he carefully notes some of the other items on his Super Comp dragster that he feels were important contributors to his most recent win. "We had made a couple of adjustments to the car and one of them was the new Edelbrock manifold and it's absolutely awesome," he said. "It's a second design Edelbrock that sits on top of the 622 Brodix that I have been running for years. We have also been working with A1 Converters and they have come up with just a great, really consistent converter along with our Hughes Transmission."

"It would have been awesome to be in the finals in both cars," he confessed. "I'm not saying that if I would have got past Casner in Gas that I would have beat Jimmy Lewis, but the Corvette was awesome and I was driving great. I've got close before, a final and a semi-final. It's one of those things that very few people have doubled up. Especially in Super Gas and Super Comp on the national level, I know it's happened, but not very often."

Williams will return to the track in the coming weeks for his two final 2011 scheduled events, starting with the NHRA division race in Las Vegas before wrapping up the season during the NHRA World Finals in Pomona, California.

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