Steve Williams and Madison Whitten Top the Podium in Super Comp

Steve Williams, K&N’s Chief Engineering Officer, claimed victory in the Super Comp category of the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Division 7 final on July 22. His racing protégé, twenty-one-year-old Madison Whitten, was the runner-up—after a dramatic racing weekend that pitted the two against each other for the first time ever.

Steve Williams and Madison Whitten posing with their teams

Steve Williams, Madison Whitten, and their supporters

As the head of research and development, Williams has been instrumental in the development of K&N racing products for over two decades—and has amassed many notable wins in his personal racing career, including four NHRA Division 7 championship titles and over 40 “Wally” trophies. In 2014, he claimed the NHRA Division 7 Super Gas Championship, followed by a third-place finish in the Super Comp national rankings in 2016.

Madison is the daughter of Doug Whitten, a Product Development Technician in the race shop at K&N and a long-time friend of Williams. With her father has her crew chief—a position he continues to hold—Madison began racing in the junior category in 2010 under the mentorship of Steve. In 2011, following her first full season of racing, she won the 2011 Fontana Dragway Track Championship for the 13-to-14 age group. In 2012, she was the Barona Track Division 7 Champion, followed by a WHP Track Championship and Jr. Finals Championship in 2014. With support from her father and Williams, she began racing Super Comp in 2015.

Steve Williams and Madison Whitten went head-to-head

Both racers’ dragsters feature K&N products including scoops, oil filters, and air filters

When asked about the most important lessons Williams has imparted to her, Whitten said, “I’ve learned never to take anybody lightly, and to always keep my head in the game. Steve’s been with me every step of the way. I couldn’t ask for a better mentor.”

After years of mentorship, the weekend of July 22 offered the first opportunity for Williams and Whitten to go head-to-head. “I knew he wouldn’t take me lightly,” Whitten commented, “And I wanted to give it my all.”

“I was excited to face him the finals,” Madison mused, when asked if it was difficult to go up against her long-time racing guide. “After the race, he got out and gave me a hug.”

Madison Whitten in her dragster

"K&N has been the biggest support of my life since I started racing in 2010," says Madison.

“I’ve known Doug for over forty years,” Williams commented following the race, “And watching Madison grow up and become a great racecar driver is pretty special. And now racing her in the final at a NHRA race...that’s really special. She’s been in two finals already, and will win her first race very soon.”

The final stats were as follows:


1. Steve Williams, Beaumont, Calif., '10 TNT, 8.920, 183.99 def.

2. Madison Whitten, Corona, Calif., '14 American, 8.865, 160.86.

“I couldn’t race without the help of K&N, and some great people helping me,” commented Williams. “I want to thank Travis Hodges, the race shop manager—and the engines John Reedy builds are the best out there.”

Both racers’ dragsters feature K&N products including scoops, oil filters, air filters, and fuel filters—many of which Williams has been influential in developing over the years. K&N is proud to have the knowledge and experience of Chief Engineering Officer Steve Williams, who has applied decades of first-hand racing knowledge to the development of K&N products for automobile enthusiasts worldwide.

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