RacingJunk.com is the place to buy, sell and trade everything related to race and performance. From our classifieds to our news to our advertisers and partners, RacingJunk is here to support the grass roots racer in all types of motorsports. As part of that, we wanted to celebrate our partners who are out there, hitting the tracks with their customers and clients. Starting today, we will regularly feature drivers, engineers and crew chiefs who are also getting behind the wheel.
Kicking off this series is Bryan Keller of KB Trailer Sales. In addition to owning KB Trailer Sales, Keller races a 3000hp Blown Alcohol Top Dragster. He talks with RacingJunk about going fast, working with family, and how KB trailers can help customers best prep for their sport.
RJ: You currently race a 3000HP Blown Alcohol Top Dragster. Tell us a little bit about that class of racing, and what appeals to you about it.
BK: We race at some of the NHRA & PDRA series races in “top dragster”, which is the highest and quickest form of bracket drag racing there is. The appeal for us is that we are racing against competitors going between 220-240+ mph in the ¼ mile. Anyone familiar with bracket racing knows there is a ton of strategy and decisions to be made in very short period of time while going down the racetrack. For us to do that at 240+ mph makes it that much more difficult and that much more fun.
RJ: How has this season been treating you?
BK: The season has been a roller coaster ride so far. We experienced a lot of breakage and part failure in the beginning of the season, so we made changes to the car and fortunately we’ve seen a significant improvement in the performance of the car. So we’re optimistic about the remaining races we have left
RJ: You also, occasionally, race in some of the Outlaw series. What do you run in those competition?
BK: We run a series called Outlaw 660 which is held at Dragway 42, just south of Cleveland, Ohio, which KB Trailer Sales is the presenting sponsor. The outlaw series is an 1/8 mile, limited rule format, first one to the finish line wins. It’s a series that fields dragsters and door cars separately and has gained a lot of attention here lately.
RJ: How is driving a Top Alcohol dragster different than racing a more street-legal (ish) vehicle. How do you think drag racing in general is different than other types of racing?
BK: The great thing about drag racing is that anyone can do it, no matter what their budget is or there experience level. Anyone who has a driver’s license and owns a car can go to their local racetrack and race their car on the weekend. I also feel that drag racing is much more of friends and family-oriented sport compared to the other forms of racing out there and I think it’s easy to get the kids involved in the junior dragster programs.If you go out to the racetrack at a weekend event the amount of junior dragsters racing is amazing.
RJ: What are the biggest challenges you face as a racer — time, money, equipment? Or other things entirely?
BK: Time, money & equipment are all huge factors. When you get to the level that we perform at and of course the higher levels, the money becomes the biggest obstacle. Your always trying to stay one step above the competition which usually means constantly buying the best parts money can buy. It’s a never ending vicious cycle. The time element also plays a big factor as well. These race cars require a ton of maintenance and if you don’t stay on top of it, in the long run it’s only going to hurt you.
RJ: Did you get into the trailer business to fuel your race habit or did the trailer business give you an interest in racing?
BK: When we decided to step up into Top Dragster, I knew the maintenance and the cost of the operation were going to increase significantly. So in 2013,we started KB Trailer Sales as a side business to help incur some of that cost. Little did I know that it would grow and become what it has today. I’m fortunate to have a great team behind me and we represent so great trailer manufacturer’s
RJ: Unless you’re doing strict street to strip, you’re going to need a trailer if you’ve got a race car. How do you help people figure out what they need?
BK: Most people come to us knowing they need a trailer, but they aren’t sure exactly what they need or what will work with what they are trying to haul. So they come to us and we help design a trailer for them that will work specifically for what they are looking to do, all while keeping factors such as budget, resale, and longevity in mind. We thoroughly enjoy working closely with our customers and our referrals have been what has helped grow our business to what it is today.
RJ: Can you offer some advice for anyone interested in getting into drag racing? What does it take to succeed as a drag racer, or at the very least, to continue pursuing it as a passion?
BK: Have fun, be humble, and don’t give up. You’re going to do a lot more losing than you will winning. I think success as a drag racer varies from racer to racer. I know guys who make their living drag racing, so if they’re not winning, they’re not eating and I know guys who own big businesses who are just happy to be at racetrack competing. And I think that’s the beauty of drag racing–it attracts all forms of competitors. I think, as with everything else, you’ve got to have drive and determination if you’re going to succeed. I raced a long time before ever winning a race, but we were able to recognize the small success’s that kept us coming back weekend after weekend, year after year.
RJ: Tell us a little bit about your crew and team, if you’ve got them. How do you maintain your vehicle and keep it race ready?
BK: I am fortunate enough to be able to race with my family. My father Rick is the crew chief and my wife, Lauren and mother, Peggy, help out as well. I’m blessed that they are at every race we attend. I wouldn’t trade the time we spend together for anything in the world. We also have a great group of friends that we race with so our trips to the race track are usually pretty entertaining. Keeping the race car maintained and ready to go is extremely hard. We live at our shop during the week, putting 10-12 hours of work in followed by a couple hours in the evening making sure the car is ready to go for the next race or fixing whatever it is I broke from the race before.