Kyle Koretsky has had a rough go of things in the most recent three races in the 2023 NHRA Countdown to the Championship, but things are turning around for the second-generation Pro Stock racer in Las Vegas. Driving the KB Titan Racing-powered Lucas Oil-branded Chevrolet Camaro, Koretsky nearly maxed out in earned bonus points as he had the quickest car in all but one of four qualifying sessions en route to his first low qualifier award of the season and fourth of his career.
Koretsky, who will race No. 16 qualifier Jerry Tucker in the first round of eliminations, credits his team for their relentless efforts after sending him down the racetrack to a promising 6.603-second pass at 206.07 mph in the first session and following up with a 6.612, 205.98; 6.609, 205.88; and a blistering 6.589, 205.66 in the final qualifying round. The No. 1 is the 10th of the season for KB Titan Racing and their second in a row in the Countdown playoffs.
“We didn’t give up after making a good run Q1, they kept digging and trying to get better and better every round, and that just shows the dedication of KB Titan,” he said. “The last few races, we’ve been behind – but they keep pushing, keep pushing me, and keep trying to make me better. We just keep on going.”
After reaching the final round in Brainerd and the semifinals at the U.S. Nationals to close out the regular season, Koretsky raced the final round at the first race of the Countdown at the very racetrack that he and his family own, Maple Grove Raceway. The momentum from a rewarding finish at his home track was short-lived, however, and he exited in the first round in each of the next three events – Charlotte, St. Louis, and Dallas.
The rough spot after such a promising set of races presented a mental battle that would have plagued many other racers, but Koretsky carried on with the support of his team.
“In my opinion, I have the best team out here,” said Koretsky. “They give me 110% every single time we go down that racetrack. They believe in me, and that gives you a lot of confidence as a driver. That’s real important. The last few races I’ve been down and out, but we didn’t give up.”
The challenge on Sunday will be getting back to going rounds, and although he is No. 8 in the championship standings and a bit too far from the lead to chase a championship, Koretsky would very much like to finish the season as high in the points as possible. His best finish so far was in 2021, when he earned the No. 4 to fly the following season, and in 2022, he finished fifth in the Pro Stock points. Koretsky, who was runner-up at this event in 2020 to Erica Enders, would very much like to see one more win light on Sunday.
“A win tomorrow would do a lot for me personally,” he said. “Pro Stock is tough, to qualify is a win. To go No. 1 is a win. To win the race is a bigger win for us and for me personally. I think we have a shot, I really do, and I think I need this. I know everyone wants to win out here, but I think this weekend’s mine. I’m going to try to get the win. I’m going to try to get a good night’s sleep, no gambling tonight, and hopefully all my luck is on the racetrack tomorrow.”
While Koretsky works to climb in the points, KB Titan Racing’s Greg Anderson, Dallas Glenn, and Matt Hartford are striving to do all that they can to remain in contention for the championship. Each are still mathematically in the hunt, with five-time world champion Greg Anderson and his HendrickCars.com Chevrolet in the best position to make up the difference between himself and incoming points leader Erica Enders. Anderson is 94 points behind Enders in the No. 2 position, Glenn is 99 back in third, and Hartford is trailing the lead by 115 in the No. 4 spot.
Raceday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is on the horizon, and Anderson has an impressive history at this particular facility. He is tied with Top Fuel’s Tony Schumacher as an eight-time winner at The Strip. Glenn won in Las Vegas in 2021, and Dave Connolly – part of the KBT crew chief compound – won the race as a driver in 2005. He also won here as a crew chief for Tanner Gray in 2017.
KBT has won three of the last four 2023 Countdown to the Championship events and is fully prepared to go after another as they chase a 10th world title for the historic team.
Eliminations for the NHRA Nevada Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway are set to begin at 11:00 a.m. PT on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023.