Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to all.....

Happy Birthday Jesus. I hope everyone who is reading this has a Merry Christmas. We are having a great Christmas. The kids got way to much from Santa. It's been hectic. going here and there, eating 24/7... I bought Bron an excerise Bike, but I think I will be the one using it mostly so I can fit in the car. It's been great having family together, seeing old friends, and looking forward to the 08 season. Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sponsor mentions never enough

As I sit here at my computer looking at my christmas tree, wife and kids, I have to reflect on my 07' season. What a great year it has been, but it was over way to quick. Seems like yesterday, Me, daddy, jill, ray, jay, don, paul, connie, scott, steve, jim, and travis were on a plane to San antonio texas for the first IHRA knoll-gas Nitro jam race. We hadn't tested any over the winter and the very first pass I made was a 5.06 ( early shut-off). My crew's the best. Some were new, just jelling together. What an awesome crew they evolved into over the year. Thank you so much guy's! Richard Hartman has been a great asset to our team and we have all became good friends. Richard, phillip and myself went to the PRI show and we had a great time. I want to congratulate Bruce Litton, Dale Creasy, Mark Thomas, Scott Cannon and Robert Patrick on their Pro championships. I know for a fact they didn't come easy. We all dream of it, but to make it a reality, must be great! I want to thank all my sponsors who have helped me in my career. Running a car on a budget, I have to select the very best parts to run in my car and to you, thanks, Holbrook Performance parts, General machine of Anderson, Victory-1 valves, Ross Pistons, Vickery's speed shop, Impact!, Silt fence, JRD, R&R Construction, Hartman Machine Works, Horton race Cars, Safety solutions,Moore Performance, Nitro radios, Williams performance, Boninfante clutches, Richmond gear, ARC,and Hartman Enterprise. I also want to thank Connie Davis. Without his support, this year would have not been possible for our team. I also want to thank Paul Constantine. He has been the backbone of my identity this year. From my website to t-shirts to all the media attention I received, thank you Paul. I smell Nitro! Although we didn't win the championship, I feel I won the best of all this year. I met a lot of great people this year and made a lot of friendships I will never forget. Thanks to all the IHRA staff for making it one heck of a year and to the entire staff with Track Rescue for keeping us safe. What a dream I'm living! Can't wait til next year. Andy

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Down time for the off season?

I apologize for not blogging in a while, but we have been busting our tails getting ready for next season. We actually took a week off after rockingham, and thats it. It's been 6-7 days a week. Most of you know I am a diesel mechanic by trade. So, after we work all day at the truck shop, we go to the race shop and work. It's so much fun, but tons of work. Between work, racing and family time, there is NO down time! Were still looking for a major sponsor for 08' and were not giving up- ever! We are in the talking stages with a few prospects but nothing solid. I have secured a product deal with Dale Vickery of Vickery's Speed Shop in Anderson S.C. www.vickeryspeedshop.com and Impact! race products www.impactraceproducts.com I have to thank Mr. John Schneider of Impact! race products for all he has done for me. I am very excited about being in all Impact! gear for 08' and beyond! Safety is my main goal. With 2 young kids, wife and dog, I want to be protected in the very best way and Impact! race products will make that happen. Anyone looking for safety gear, whether it's Dragracing, circle track, go cart, tractor pulling, etc. should contact Dale Vickery and he will set you up and best of all he is at the IHRA races and many more. We painted our cranberry Freightliner this week. Our rig will be all white for 08' and it looks great. I want to thank my brother Neal, my dad Pat, Butch, Kenny and Tom for making it happen. I will post pics later. We will be running a camaro for the start of the season. The chassis has been at Horton race cars in Belton S.C. having some changes made and Richard Hartman has been working on our clutch management and other parts for next year. I dont give richard as much credit as he deserves, but he has worked his tail off for our team. We all want to win! Thanks to my crew, family and friends for all your support. stay tuned.......

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Interview with Steve LeTempt

We finally got together with the guys at www.realracinusa.com for the interview. If you want to listent to it, here is the direct link to the audio.


We're working hard trying to get some more sponsors lined up for 2008.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Interview postponed - next week!

UPDATE.....Steve LeTempt had to postpone our interview until next week, as he came down with an illness. Sorry if you logged into the website and couldn't find it. We are on for NEXT WED 10/31 (Halloween) at the same time. Now I have a week to worry about saying something stupid.

One more thing to mention. After being pretty bummed out about our DNQ in Rockingham, I got home and the Oct 19th issue of DRM (Drag Review Magazine) was sitting in my stack of mail. DRM is the official publication of the IHRA, and is a really, really good publication. However, the last thing I wanted to do was open it up on Sunday night and be reminded of our failure.

But by Tuesday, the sting had worn off enough to where I could bring myself to look at it. You know it's said that God works in mysterious ways, and just when I needed a little pick me up, Mike Perry, the IHRA's Director of Communications and Public Relations decided to write about us and our blog in his column. It made my day for us to get some recognition, especially in the way Mike did it.

Hey, why not join IHRA and subscribe to DRM? Here is the link http://www.ihra.com/dragreview/index.html

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Live Webcast Interview

This is cool. I will be interviewed by Steve LeTempt through a live webcast on Wednesday evening (10/24) from 8:00-8:30 on www.realracinusa.com as part of his weekly "Straightlining with Stevie" program.

The link is http://www.realracinusa.com/html/harleydrags.shtml

If you can't make it to hear it live, it will be archived on the website, and by the way, it's a pretty cool website with alot of good news in interviews on all types of racing.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Rockingham and Season Wrap Up

Just got back from Rockingham, and we finished what was a frustrating last month and a half with a whopper. A DNQ at our "home" track in the season's last event. We had really been running well at night, and as you guys know, struggling with hot tracks in the daytime. Coming into this event, we had gotten in the mode of running a great time on Friday night, and being basically assured a spot in the field, were able to experiment a little on Saturday's.

Well, we went out to qualify on Friday night, and to everyone's surprise, we smoked the tires at the hit of the throttle. No big deal, as we had two more shots on Saturday. Going into Saturday, the bump spot was 5.20, and we could see that it would take a run in the 5.0's to get in. Everyone has stepped up thier game. In addition to the guys like Creasy, Wyatt, Gilbertson and Haddock, guys like Jeff Diehl, Mitch King and Todd Simpson have gotten thier cars dialed in and are running well.

We had a good run on Saturday, but we tuned it a little soft just to get down the track, and I also got out of the groove at the top end, which probably cost us a 4 or 5 hundredths, and ran a 5.20 at 285. Not good enough, as the bump spot went down to 5.18. So going into Saturday night we were #9, and on the outside looking in, a spot we're not familiar with.

I think we were all pretty confident, as Saturday nights have been good to us. We took advantage of cool air and track conditions in Epping and Milan to earn "Last Man Standing" awards on Saturday night, and it's also the session where we set our (temporary) best speed yet of 305.01. But for reasons we are still looking into (and the computer has shown us some strange things) we smoked the tires at the hit and failed to make the field for the first time this year.

It was like getting hit in the gut. All the other drivers and crew came by to pay thier respects and tell us how bad they felt for us, and I swear it was like being at a funeral. Gilbertson went on to win the event and pass us in the season points standings, so after holding on to the #4 spot since May, we give it up on the last day of the season to Bob (who by the way, ran very, very strong in the 4's all weekend).

So now it's time to go find some sponsorships. I know we can help some company or companies promote their products and/or brand, and in exchange get some badly needed funding to help us get some fresh parts, and also give us the freedom to tune a little more aggressively. We ran a complete IHRA season and didn't throw a rod, put a hole in a block, or anything. We used a few pistons, cracked two main caps, and broke a blower and that was it. I had a great crew that volunteered a tremendous amount of time to help us chase our dream, and I owe them a ton of thanks. I want to mention them all.

Ray Murphy who put aside his own nitro car (the nostalgia funny car "Slabtown Hustler") to help us. Ray's experience is so valuable to us. Jay Giles, who works on weekends we don't race, so he can help us on weekends we do. He does top end and is as professional and hard working as they come. Don Lynch, who helps me with the bottom end. Don is a great asset to us and busts his tail to help us. Butch Beacham. Butch drives the transport and does our clutch. He has spent a ton of time on the road, and has to set up and tear down by himself sometimes so we can get back to Greenville in time for work. If you've ever set up or taken down our awning, you'll know how much we owe him. Jim Poynter who helped us in the first part of the year but as a Federal Coal Mine Inspector had some very important job duties take him away from us late in the season. Richard Hartman, who tunes the car for us. Richard is crew chief for Bruce Litton (who won the IHRA Top Fuel Season Championship today!!) and sets up our motor and clutch settings for us. Paul Constantine, who despite being a mechanical novice, helps by doing anything we need from cleaning parts, setting tire pressure, etc. Jill who cooks for us and also mixes the fuel, hopefully not getting them mixed up! And last but definately not least, my Dad, Pat, who I owe everything to.

Finally, thanks to all our fans. We met so many GREAT people this season. We can't wait to see you again next season when we come back to San Antonio, Tulsa, Rockingham, Edmonton, Grand Bend, Epping, Grand Rapids, Milan, Cayuga, Budd's Creek and anywhere else IHRA goes!

I'll update you all on offseason developments as they happen.

Andy Kelley

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

President's Cup wrap-up

Well, wouldn't you know, we smoked the tires again in the first round. It's frustrating. Another race where we qualify in the top half of the field, only to blow off the tires immediately in round one. We made three good passes in qualifying, one in similar conditions, and then Sunday comes and we can't go 10 feet. There has to be something causing this. Obviously we've yet to figure out what it is.

So we're still 27 points behind Terry for third place. That's a gap we can make up in Rockingham if we qualify strong and go a couple rounds. Gilbertson is only 21 points behind us so we have to have a good showing to stay in fourth.

I've had a few people ask me what happened Saturday night during qualifying when I got "no time". We were pumped up, getting ready to take a shot at the 4's. I was wired when I pulled into the lights, and just after I lit the second bulb I swear I saw something flash, and I went. As I launched I caught a glimpse of the tree with only the first bulb lit in the other lane and I knew I screwed up, but I stayed in the throttle and made a decent pass. No time slip though.

Hey, if any of you want to sponsor the car for the final race of the season, go hit Ebay....I had to cancel and re-do the listing. The new Ebay listing number is 190158971359.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Friday Night Qualifying

Ran a solid 5.07 at 301mph last night. The run would have been better but the car moved out of the groove near the top end and got a little squirelly. Right now we're the #3 qualifier. It is supposed to cool off Saturday, and we're all looking for some great air at this "sea-level" track, which could make for some great times.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Last Man Standing and Ebay

So I've had a bunch of fans ask me this week what "Last Man Standing" is. One buddy said "Hey Andy, I saw you were Last Man Standing. That's good, right?". Well, let me clear it up. In order to keep the racers motivated and the fans excited during qualifying, the IHRA started the Last Man Standing competition. Basically, the quickest WINNING E.T of the Friday and Saturday night qualifying round wins LMS and gets 5 bonus points toward the season points chase. What "WINNING" ET means, is that you have to reach the finish line first. For example, on Friday night, we were racing Terry Haddock in qualifying. We ran a 5.05 and Terry ran a 5.03, so his ET was faster by 2 hundreths of a second. But my reaction time on the tree was 5 hundreths of a second better that Terry's, so I crossed the finish line 3 hundreths of a second before he did....and won Last Man Standing as no one ran a quicker winning ET that night.

Sponsorship is the life blood of our sport, it's what we are working hard to get. We offer a great way for the right Company to get visibility for their products or services, as we perform in front of 40,000 people at every event. It beats TV advertising because no one goes to the bathroom or TIVO's past the Nitro Cars at a Drag Race! Well, sort of for fun, but also seriously, my PR/Marketing guy Paul and I decided to put Kelley Motorsports on Ebay. Yep, we're selling a "single race sponsorship package" on Ebay this week for the World Finals in Rockingham on October 19-21. If you want to see the listing look at Ebay listing number 190157447315. And don't be afraid to bid!!'

We are on our way to Maryland International Raceway and the President's Cup Nationals. We should arrive first thing in the AM and looking forward to the sea-level track and the cool dry air that supposed to be over the Northeast this weekend! Let's hope I can get my four-second run!

Monday, September 24, 2007

One and Done

Well, I gotta say, everyone on the team is pretty disappointed after we blew the tires off at the hit and basically gave our first round matchup away to Todd Simpson. Simpson broke and coasted to a 6.40, so the round was ours for the taking and we just didn't execute. The problem we have is that we've been running well on Friday night qualifying, and to save parts, money, and wear and tear on the car, we've been sitting out Saturday afternoon qualifying. Then we'll come back and run another good run in Saturday night qualifying. Issue is, they don't run the Sunday eliminations at night. So while we've got tons of data and have gotten pretty good at running at night, when the track is cool and the air is better, we have very little data on how to get down the track when the track temp is 105 (like it was Sunday at Noon) or higher. So I guess this is the point where we have to decide are we in it to win it? Or are we just out here having fun. Right now, having picked up points on #2 Jack Wyatt and #3 Terry Haddock this weekend, you WILL see us out there Saturday afternoon this coming weekend in Maryland. We're only 23 points behind Terry Haddock for third place, and 45 points behind Jack Wyatt for second.

We leave Thurday evening for Budd's Creek, Maryland and the Presidents' Cup Nationals at Maryland International Raceway.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Career best run and another Last Man Standing!!

Saturday night qualifying. The air was great, the track was good, and we ran a career best 5.01 at 305. It was good enough for Last Man Standing for the second night in a row and number two overall qualifier. It was also my first 300 mph pass of my career. What a great feeling. We only missed being the number one qualifier by a couple thousandths of a second as Creasy ran a 5.007 this afternoon. But now we've got to get to get ready for tomorrow and win some rounds!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Beachin' It

Well, i just ran my fastest ET of my career, a 5.055, and won the Last Man Standing. But when i pulled my chutes only one chute deployed, and despite pulling on the brake lever with BOTH HANDS while steering with my knees (try that at 250 mph) i couldnt get the car slowed before i hit the sand trap (with my eyes closed) at a pretty good clip. The front end of the body is messed up but will be ok to run tommorrow. The car is literally covered in sand and dirt. We'll probably sit out tomorow afternoons session and run tomorow eve. Gotta go....lots of work ahead of us.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Match Race at Carolina Dragway

First of all, thanks to Live Nation/IHRA for inviting us down to the ThunderJam event at Carolina Dragway to match race with Bob Gilbertson. We had a great time, the stands were overflowing with fans, and we had the opportunity to race in front of alot of our friends and family members that don't get to see us race very often.

Hats off to Bob. He beat us both races. In the first race, we didn't put enough power to the ground and I shook the tires a couple hundred feet out. It shook me out of the groove and as soon as I got out of the groove the tires smoked. On the second run I rattled the tires again a little bit and drove through it, but Gilbertson got me be a couple lengths.

Now it's off to Milan, Michigan for the re-scheduled Motor City Nationals. We leave Thursday night as soon as all my crewmembers get off work and get over to our shop. We'll pack up the RV and leave around 7PM, drive all night, and get to Milan first thing in the morning. Butch will have already arrived with the rig (and hopefully have the awning set up!). We'll get set up, service the car, and get ready for our qualifying run that evening.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Cayuga and our Match Race

Sorry I didn't get to update our blog after the Cayuga race. We were ready to go on Sunday afternoon, but wound up smoking the tires at the hit and lost to Mitch King. The motor wound up giving us more power than we had it tuned for, and poof! Bye bye Andy. We were worried about losing some of our cushion in the points standings over Bob Gilbertson (who is behind us in 5th), but Bob had issues too, and lost his first round matchup. So we remain in fourth place, behind Terry Haddock by 39 points, which is less than two "round wins". It sure would be nice to pass him and finish the season in third (or catch Jack Wyatt for second, he's 62 points up).

When we raced our Alcohol Funny Car, we would match race all over the Southeast. In fact, that's what we mostly did. Racing guys like Jimmy Rector at tracks in Alabama, Florida, Georgia was a great time. This weekend it's back to the Match Race circuit as we're taking on Bob Gilbertson at Carolina Dragway just outside Aiken, SC.

The match race is part of the "Thunder Jam" session put on by Live Nation (who runs IHRA). They called us a month ago to arrange this race to add some excitement to what is already a wild program, and we were thrilled to be invited. The neat thing is that it's close to home, so all the family and friends that usually don't get to see us race can come down and enjoy a day at the track.

Gilby said in his press release he "wanted to send Andy Kelley home with his tail between his legs". He should know better than to pick a fight with a bunch of boys from Piedmont!

Hope to see you all there! We race at 7PM and again at 10PM.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Ready to Go!

Since we ran a solid 5.09 on Friday night, we sat out the second qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. On Saturday evening we ran a 5.20 so we didn't improve our position, which ended up getting us the fourth spot. We race Mitch King in round one Sunday at Noon. Here is the final qualifying results.

Psn Driver Vehicle ET Speed

1. Dale Creasy Jr. Torco Race Fuels '05 Monte Car 5.053 298.14
2. Jack Wyatt '06 Stratus 5.080 290.51
3. Bob Gilbertson Autolite XP Spark Plugs '05 Stratus 5.081 234.09
4. Andy Kelley Holbrook Performance Parts '02 Firebird 5.093 295.98
5. John Lawson Ruane Construction '02 Camaro 5.113 251.53
6. Terry Haddock Temp Mizer Canada '05 Monte Ca 5.290 222.51
7. Jeff Diehl Rockstar '02 Firebird 5.439 282.36
8. Mitch King Sunset Cove/Beyar Waste '05 Fi 5.491 200.20
--------- Not Qualified ---------
9. Randy Bykowsky Hi-Velocity Systems '05 Monte 5.613 225.63
10. Jason Duchene Castrol Syntec '00 Camaro 6.009 187.42

Back in Canada

We're back in Canada this weekend. This time in Cayuga which is just southwest of Toronto. On the way up we drove through Buffalo and stopped to see Niagara Falls, which was a nice way to break up the monotony of the long drive.

I ran a 5.093 at 295.98 in Friday nights qualifying session, good enough for the third spot so far. There are 10 Nitro Funny Cars here, so two of us won't make it in, but I feel good about our chances with the 5.09 we just put up. I really need to make up some ground against Jack Wyatt and Terry Haddock, and stay ahead of Gilbertson who is in fifth place.

If the rain holds off, the conditions should be great this evening and I'm hoping for a 4-second run. Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Drove all the way up to Milan, MI on Thurs night/Friday morn. Got everything set up, serviced the car, got prepared for Friday nights qualifying run......and the rain came. And kept coming. On Saturday afternoon the IHRA cancelled the race even though the rain had stopped and the weather had turned gorgeous. The Milan area had so much rain that water was percolating up through the ground and they couldn't prep the track adequately. As a driver, I really appreciate the IHRA's focus on driver saftey. The decision the cancel this race, as well as other decisions, like the one to race 1/8th mile in San Antonio, were not popular and cost the IHRA money, but show us drivers that they practice what they preach when it comes to saftey.

The race has been rescheduled for September 20-22 and we are excited about going back, but it will mean the Kelley team will race four weekends in a row. That's a pace we're not used to, and I am grateful for having such a great team.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Back to Michigan

Tommorrow evening we pack up the RV and head back to Michigan, this time to Milan Dragway just south of Detroit. We had a great time in Grand Rapids earlier in the month and expect another huge crowd in Milan.

If you saw the press release on ihra.com yesterday then you know we are only 41 points out of SECOND PLACE in the season championship points standings. That's basically two round wins. Terry Haddock is in second and Jack Wyatt is in third, and while both are great guys we'd love nothing more than to overtake them by the last race in Rockingham, NC in October. I would be thrilled if we could wrap up our first full year of nitro funny car racing in the top three. First place? Dale Creasy, Jr. has it all but wrapped up. What a roll he's been on.

For all of you in our local area, we have GREAT news. It looks like we'll be match racing Bob Gilbertson at the "Thunder Jam" event at Carolina Dragway in Aiken on Saturday, September 15th. We'll race each other twice that day as part of the Thunder Jam program that's being held in conjunction with the IHRA Summit Divisionals that weekend. It's not set in stone, but watch for a formal announcement soon. Aiken is only a couple hours for our beloved Piedmont, SC, so come down and hang out with us!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Opportunity Missed

Today was a huge missed opportunity for us to get our first event win. In the first round we beat Mitch King when we ran a 5.23 (despite a couple dropped cylinders) and King broke at the line. In round 2 we faced Dale Creasy, Jr. We left the setup virtually identical to round one, except for bumping up the compression to fix the dropped cylinder issue. And we smoked the tires at the hit. Creasy had his tires break lose at about the 150 foot mark but I couldn't pedal the car quick enough to catch him. An opportunity lost to beat the Champ. Then in the Finals, Mike Smith couldn't stage, giving Creasy a solo run for the Ironman trophy. Oh so close for Kelley Motorsports!

But it was a great weekend. We qualified 2nd, won Last Man Standing on Saturday night, gained 29 points on Jack Wyatt who we are chasing for 3rd, and extended our lead over 5th place Bob Gilbertson by a few points. We are off next week and then it's off to Detroit's Milan Dragway.

Last Man Standing

Wow. This was our best qualifying session so far of my brief nitro funny car career. Not only did we qualify second with a 5.10 (more on that later), but we won the "Last Man Standing" crown for the fastest winning ET of the evening qualifying session. We get 5 valuable points toward our season total, and the recognition of being the Last Man Standing (hello, potential sponsors!).

Now for more on that 5.10 at 294 that won us the LMS. We decided to run all out tonite and try to get the car in the 4's for the first time. After a last second decision to lower our tire pressure .2 lbs on each side, the car launched hard, and i had probably the best run of my life going. I was really hauling down the track, but at the 1000' mark the engine threw the blower belt and I coasted the rest of the way. And still went 5.10 at 294!!

We face Mitch King in round one Sunday and he's been hot lately. He went to the finals last week in Michigan and has a car that can run 5.0's.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Sunday, August 5th

After a 4 hour delay because of a rainstorm, we finally got up to the line to face defending champ Dale Creasy, Jr.  As soon as the light went amber i hit the throttle and went into some ferocious tire shake.  I tried to pedal it but Creasy was on his way to a 5.27, so there was no way i was going to catch him.

Now we will service the car and pack up the trailer.  We'll head back to Greenville in the RV, and Butch will go straight to Epping, NH to get set up for our race next week. 

Talk to you next from Epping.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Saturday Qualifying

Since we felt good about our 5.12 last night we sat out the afternoon qualifying session.  But we really wanted to improve our time in the night session.  Richard made some adjustments to the tune, but the air wasn't as good, and we ran an identical 5.12 again!  Well, that time was good enough for the number 8 spot in the field, and we race Dale Creasy, Jr at noon tomorrow in a rematch of the Final round in Tulsa.  

Friday, August 3, 2007

Friday Night Update

Solid first qualifying run.  We ran a  5.12 at 297 and are in the 5th spot.  The weather and track conditions were great.  The air temperature was 70 and humidity was 40 percent.  The track  got hot (125 degrees) during the day, but cooled off to 85 by the time we ran.  The car tracked straight and true, and it's just what we wanted for our first qualifying run.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

It's off to Michigan

We leave this afternoon around 6PM for US131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan. Butch left yesterday with car, and the rest of the team piles into our RV and we'll drive all night to get there by morning. We trailer our mini-van that we use for a tow vehicle, and switch off drivers throughout the night. Once we get to the track, it takes a couple hours to get set up. None of us get much sleep on these trips but the adrenaline is pumping all weekend so you don't really notice you're tired.

We'll have a tough field to face. Creasy is running as good as anyone, and Gilbertson's car can put down a great time, too. Haddock and Wyattt are #2 and #3 in the points for a reason; they're good. In addition, we have the guy who is #3 in NHRA points, Mike Ashley, competing this weekend as he's sponsored by Evan Knoll (and this is Evan's track), along with Gary Densham, another NHRA regular.

Our challenge is to be consistent, qualify well, and then not make mistakes in eliminations and wait for our chance. We can get our car into the 4's if we need to, and an elimination round on Sunday is a good time to do it.