Greg Anderson was angry and frustrated.
The four-time NHRA Pro Stock champion saw his 2015 season end the same way 2014 did, with rival Erica Enders and her Elite Motorsports team taking the series title instead of Anderson or his KB Racing teammate Jason Line.
And the off-season was going to be a bear. The NHRA had decried that for the first time since the Pro Stock class was established in 1970, the teams would be forced to switch from a pair of humongous four-barrel carburetors to fuel injection to provide power to their 500-cubic-inch engines.
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Since KB is the only Pro Stock team that machines its own cylinder heads and intakes, the switch would be an enormous amount of work and a huge expense. When all was said and done, there was no telling whether or not the effort would translate into victories on the race track.
No wonder Anderson was down in the dumps.
"We knew it was going to be a huge challenge," said Anderson. "I couldn't even spell fuel injection."
Then something remarkable happened.
After the season ended, Anderson and Line headed to the Middle East to visit U.S. military members stationed overseas. It's something the drivers do every year.
And this time, seeing the soldiers in Bahrain and Kuwait proved to be the attitude adjustment Anderson needed.
"Through that trip and chatting with all the troops and getting our yearly reminder of what life is really about and how fortunate we are to be able to drag race for a living, (we realized) that a rules change really is not the end of the world," said Anderson.
"If you look at what's going on over there in the third-world countries -- what our servicemen and women are fighting for so we can play with our race cars," said Anderson. "I think we came home from that trip just completely different people and stopped complaining about the rules changes and realized just how fortunate we are to be able to do what we do."
Then it was time to go to work.
"Once we finally got done moping and whining and crying about the rules change, we just decided to rededicate ourselves to doing a better job than the rest of the people in the development process," said Anderson.
"We decided to dig in and do the best job we could," said Anderson. "We had no earthly idea if we would end up two months later on the starting line at Pomona with a car that was not even competitive or super competitive."
As it turns out, KB Racing has been super competitive. In four NHRA events so far this year, Line and Anderson have each won twice and Line has been to the final round four times and leads the series in points.
The two will race again on Sunday in the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals presented by Lowes Foods at zMax Dragway, across the street from Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Anderson, a two-time event winner, qualified No. 1, with Line third.
Asked if racing four-wide is the toughest challenge on the circuit, Anderson left no doubt.
"Yes, absolutely, positively," he said. "It just completely blows your mind."
But whatever happens today, there's no question that Anderson and Line have run like the champions they are so far this season.