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!