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 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.