Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Getting ready for 09'

Well, there is no such thing as off time for a race team. We have been busy getting ready for 09'. I hope to have some big things happen for us next year. It is not looking good for the Nitro FC class in IHRA next year. SO, we're building a brand new NHRA spec. chassis and we're going to run some NHRA events. We'd run them all if the $$$ comes through. We took delivery of a Dodge Stratus body, and it's just bad!! I will post some pics later. The chassis is being built right here in the upstate by J.Ed Horton and Richard Hartman at Horton race cars/ Hartman Machine in Belton SC. As always, we're still looking for sponsorship at any level, so pass the word along. It will be interesting!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

News channel 4 on at 6 and 11:00

Tune in tonight at 6 and 11 on News 4. They came down and did an interview with me and the Funnycar. Thanks to Jason and Donovan with Cubicle Connections for setting it up. Thanks to Jackson and Hunter for the footage. Let's keep the ball rolling! Andy

Monday, October 20, 2008

# 2 in the IHRA Points

Well, the IHRA season is over. We finished #2 in the points chase and couldn't be happier. We were not able to attend the race in edmonton canada, and well, if we did we would've finished #1, but that's hind sight. We had a career best year. Here is a run down. I ran my first 4 second run, qualified #1, was last man standing several times, ran top MPH of the whole event in grand bend Canada, went to 3 straight final rounds and WON twice! To top it off, we finished #2 in the points behind my friend Terry Haddock. Let me tell you about rockingham. We entered the race tied for 3rd place with Paul Lee. Paul is one of the best out there. Rain cancelled the first qual. run so we were down to 2 runs on Sat. It was very cold, had great air, but the track temp was a little cool. Most of the cars shook the tires or smoked them and we were one of them. I had to pedal the car and it ran 5.84 @ 291. mph. We were qual. #5 after the first session. Going into the last session, Terry and I were last on the qual. run order because we were the fastest in our respected lanes in the first session. It seemed like each car that ran in front of me was bumping me down the list and low and behold I was not qualified for the 8 car field when it was my turn to run. I was very nervous, the track had cooled down a ton, and the pressure was on. Richard and Dad told me to be on my toes and be ready for anything. The car left very hard and the dreaded tire shake caught me. My foot slapped the throttle before my brain told it to. We ran a 5.15 and were last man standing, meaning we won the 5 bonus points for being the fastest winning car in qual. We ending up qual. #4. Fate was in out hands. We ended up running paul lee in the first round and who ever won would at least finish 3rd. Well, we won! I knew we had 3rd sewn up and now looking for 2nd. Matt Hagan had a great year. He has won 3 times and has had a very fast car. Fate was dealt once again between Matt and Terry. 1st and 2nd in the points chase. Terry won the round and the championship. Matt made a good effort, but the engine let go and his car put oil on the track which resulted in a points deduction. We were getting ready to race the semi's and Mike Perry came over and told me about the points matt lost which moved me to 2nd in the points. We made enough clean runs that I could have oiled the track twice and we still would not have been penalized. So the points was set. Terry First, I was 2nd, Matt 3rd, Paul 4th and Steve 5th. What a weekend. Now the word is IHRA may not have Nitro F/C's next year. IHRA has been bought out by Feld Entertainment. I guess something bad has left IHRA in financial trouble and they don't have funding for one of it's most popular classes. Please, email anyone at Feld Entertainment and let them know how much you love Nitro F/C's and we need a place to race next year. See you all soon, Andy

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Saturday Night Fever

Oh yea, that's what I have. The Outlaw is back! Saturday night, Sept.20, I will be match racing Bobby Lagana Jr. at Carolina Dragway in Jackson SC. Known as the "House Of Hook". Maybe they will have a national event there next year! Bobby drives one of the baddest Top Fuel Dragsters on the IHRA circuit and he is one very talented driver. It will be nothing but fun. No points, no qualifying, no BS, just $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ on the line! I hope you can come out and cheer us on. Last year we had a great time. Carolina Dragway is a very nice and hard hooking track. We will be "experimenting" with some new ideas for the last National event in rockingham. You can go to their website and get more information. Check out They have an article on me on the homepage. Andy

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thanks to the Anderson Independant

I wanted to thank the Anderson Independant for the coverage they have given our team in the local paper. Were going to make a Drag Racing fan out of Scott Adamson if its the last thing we do! Thanks to all the calls and emails from everyone. We are definatly on a roll.

I keep saying it's just unbelievable, but actually it's not. We have been racing a long time. We have worked our tails off to be in this position. I have the best crew members on earth, and they all pour their hearts into it. They perform the same, race after race, have the car assembled right, and the numbers show it. Richard Hartman is making all the right calls and I am getting the car to the finish line.

There is nothing more gratifing than our recent results. I cant wait to go to Rockingham. If you have the chance, you must come to the last race. The points battle will go down to the wire.

Right now were hot on the line trying to secure sponsorship to make a full run for the 09' IHRA Funny Car Championship. I know we can win it, we just need some financial help. If you know ANYONE wanting to great exposure to hundreds of thousands of American Consumers, foward my number or email.

Dad and I went to Victory-1 on Thursday afternoon for the open house. Let me tell you, that is one nice facility. I know why they make the best Titanium valve on the market. They had bbq, low country boil, chicken and all the fixings. Lots of people and eating going on. On a side note, at this weekend's inaugural NHRA event in Charlotte, Don and Jay are helping Bob Gilbertson, and Ray Murphy is helping Matt Hagan. Good luck to both teams.

We will be racing Sept. 20 at Carolina Dragway. Its a Sat. night match race against a Top fuel dragster driven by Bobby Lagana jr. Be sure to come out and watch.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Piedmont’s Andy Kelley Takes Home IHRA North American Nationals Nitro Funny Car Championship

Epping, NH – September 7, 2008 –Piedmont’s Andy Kelley won his second IHRA National Event Championship of the season at the historic New England Dragway in Epping, NH, defeating current IHRA Nitro Funny Car points leader Terry Haddock in the Finals. His current hot streak has included a championship at the Northern Nationals, a runner-up finish at the Sooner Nationals, and now, a second event championship at the North American Nationals. A winner in eight of his last nine rounds of competition, this run of success has left the diesel truck mechanic from the Upstate humbled.

“Earlier this year I knew we were getting better, and had a shot at winning an event.” Said Andy. “But to come out the past three races, go to three straight Finals and win two Championships has really exceeded our expectations. Richard Hartman has done a great job tuning the car for consistency, and that’s why we’re winning races. In the past we’ve been maybe a little quicker here or there, but didn’t have the consistency. Now Richard has us making strong runs, and getting down the track cleanly lap after lap.”

Kelley entered the event in fifth place in the IHRA Nitro Funny Car points chase, but after knocking off the number two qualifier Cory Lee in round one, Kelley upset the events number one qualifier, Virginia’s Matt Hagan, in round two with a 5.10 second run at 300.66 mph. In the Finals, Kelley faced off against the current IHRA Nitro Funny Car points leader, Washington State’s Terry Haddock, and when Haddock smoked his tires, Kelley cruised to the win, and moved up to third place in the national points standings.

Now tied with Paul Lee for third place, and only two points behind Matt Hagan for second, Kelley can’t wait for the IHRA season finale at the legendary Rockingham Dragway on October 17-19.

“After a slow start, this is turning into a dream season,” said Kelley. “We have a chance, if we can qualify strong in Rockingham and go rounds, to finish the season in second place. We’d love to have a lot of local support at the World Finals, and would encourage our local fans and friends to drive up and see us at The Rock. It’s a great facility, and one of the few places fans can sit almost right up on the track.”

Kelley Motorsports is based in Piedmont, SC, and campaigns a Nitro Funny Car in the ten-event IHRA Knoll-Gas Nitro Jam series. Kelley currently sits in third place in the IHRA national points standings with one race left in the season. To follow Andy’s progress, check out his blog at


Sunday, September 7, 2008

North American Nationals CHAMPION!!

Woo Hooo!! Just got done beating Terry Haddock in the Finals for our second event win of the year. We went 5.16 in the Finals but Terry smoked the tires so it wasn't close. In round one we beat Cory Lee, when I went 5.15 and he smoked the tires. In round two I beat Matt Hagan 5.10/300 to his 5.20.

I am on cloud nine. This is three Finals in a row, our second event win, and I've won 8 of my last 9 rounds. This is truly a dream come true. More details later, and make sure you all make plans to come see us in Rockingham on October 17-19. We are now tied for 3rd in points with Paul Lee, according to IHRA, and to finish in third would be great.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

2 back to back finals- what a dream

If ever I needed a win, it was in Martin, MI. We had talked about skipping tulsa and epping if we had not faired well in Martin. And the rest is history ( as they would say). We won our first ever Nitro Funnycar National event!!!!!!! Made a little money, spent more than we made and moved on to Tulsa OK. We went to the final round there last year, only to be caught by the clutch gremlin. Not this year! Richard Hartman had our car on string. He is an amazing tuner and what he can do with no budget (ours) is just unreal. We have won 5 out of the last 6 rounds of competition. I am more than ever determined to secure some form of financial backing for next year and really be aggressive toward an IHRA championship. We still have a mathematical chance of winning the championship this year, and trust me, were going for broke, but it is a very long shot to say the least. I want to take this time to thank Dusty and his son Brent for their help all weekend. I have to thank each member of our crew for their dedicated support. Butch, who has been with me through all the tough times. He is a very dedicated person, and puts in a lot hours at the shop and the track. He takes care of the truck, trailer and car when its not in my sight. Thanks Butch. Ray, Jay, Don, Neal, Paul, Josh and Bob. These great people volunteer their time to pursue a dream as well. I can"t thank them enough for their great work and dedication. If you think it's easy, well, its not. Just to give you an overview- Me , Dad, Jill, ray, don, neal, jay and bob pile into the motorhome usually around 6:00 on thursday afternoon. We drive non stop to wherever were racing at. We arrive friday morning, unload the luggage, unload the van and get straight to work. We are constantly making the car better and safer. After qualifing friday night, we service the car and get in bed usually around 1-2 am. Wake up sat. morning around 7 am, start working on the car and parts. After the last qual. session sat. night and the car is serviced, its again, 1,2 or 3 in the morning.(depends on how the runs were) Sunday, wake up at 7 am again, and get the car ready for race day. Except for the last 2 races, which ever round we lost in, we'd service the car and load it in the trailer. We all then get back in the motorhome to make the trip back home non-stop to make the monday morning work day. Butch would stay and finish loading everything and then get the transporter back safely to S.C. But it's what we live for. I want to thank the wives of my crew for letting their husbands go with me. I want to thank the support of my wife Bron, kids Anna Drew and Heath. Thanks to my brother Neal for letting me and dad go racing while he runs the business. I wish he could go with us. Jill, for just everything you do. From planning our trip, to the food, all the decals, cooking, making sure the Nitro is right, making sure daddy is right!, just everything, thanks. All my sponsors who have helped me. Donnie and Barbara Holbrook. Holbrook Performance Parts..... If you want to race and dont have a car, just give them a call, need on bolt or a complete engine, give them a call or check them out online- Mike at General Machine of Anderson for all your manual and cnc machining. and thanks for letting Neal and Don off work to go with us. Victory1 precision racing valves. Conrad and Derek has been a huge help with our valve train success this year. Ross racing pistons, Darton Sleeves, Amalie oil, ARC, Crane cams, clevite, Vickery Speed shop, Impact! safety, R3, RH2, JRD hauling and grading, Silt Fence, R & R Construction, Danny and Lanita Driggers, Hartman Machine Works, Horton race cars, Nitro Drivelines(Moore), Williams oil pans, and everyone else who has contributed in some way. It takes so much to have a competitive race car, I just wanted to thank everyone for all you do. Now lets go to Epping and win that race!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sooner Nationals Finals

5:16 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 88 degrees, relative humidity 52 percent, barometer 29.27 inches, adjusted altitude 3,504 feet, track temperature 128 degrees.

(W) Matt Hagan ( '05 Monte Carlo) 0.141 5.113 301.81
(L) Andy Kelley (Holbrook Perf. Parts '02 Camar 0.133 5.194 285.83

During their brief Nitro Funny Car careers, Kelley and Hagan have each won once against the other and this is the first time they have faced each other in a final round. Hagan trailed Terry Haddock by 81 points, just one point ahead of Kelley, when he staged the car.

Good race, Hagan leading all the way, with Kelley close until half track. Matt Hagan's incremental margins: 60ft(0.007), 330 ft(0.012), 660ft(0.012), 1,000ft(0.039). MOV: 0.0732 seconds (approximately 31 feet).

2nd Round Win. Back to the Finals!

2:56 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 87 degrees, relative humidity 59 percent, barometer 29.32 inches, adjusted altitude 3,538 feet, track temperature 125 degrees.

(W) Andy Kelley (Holbrook Perf. Parts '02 Camar 0.092 5.222 293.03
(L) Todd Simpson (Modular Systems '02 Camaro) 0.104 5.860 184.67

Something went POP in Simpson's car just before half track and Kelley sailed right into the final round where he will give up lane choice to Matt Hagan.

First Round Win in Tulsa

1:04 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 84 degrees, relative humidity 70 percent, barometer 29.38 inches, adjusted altitude 3,283 feet, track temperature 121 degrees.

(W) Andy Kelley (Holbrook Perf. Parts '02 Camar 0.163 5.107 300.60
(L) John Lawson (TORCO '08 Impala) 0.207 5.162 291.45

The car Lawson is driving this weekend is the car Dale Creasy Jr. was driving in Edmonton when he was injured - with a new driveline tunnel to protect against that type of accident.

Both drivers were late, both made their best run of the weekend, and Kelley lit the win light by more than a car length.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Final Qualifying Order - Tulsa

We finished in the fourth position and race John Lawson at Noon tommorrow (Sunday). check for the results.

1 Matt Hagan, Christiansburg VA, '05 Monte Carlo 4.994 306.26
2 Terry Haddock, Woodville WA, '05 Stratus 5.098 283.73
3 Paul Lee, Wynnewood PA, '02 Camaro 5.120 292.77
4 Andy Kelley, Piedmont SC, '02 Camaro 5.124 298.93
5 Steven Macklyn, Layton UT, '05 Monte Carlo 5.143 283.91
6 Todd Simpson, Ponder TX, '02 Camaro 5.248 275.06
7 Jeff Diehl, Salinas CA, '05 Monte Carlo 5.362 226.01
8 John Lawson, Joliet IL, '08 Impala 5.384 231.99

Sat afternoon solid run

We decided to run on Saturday afternoon even though we had a good pass last night. The track temp and air temp this afternoon are going to be similar to what we'll see tommorrow during eliminations so we needed the data.

The track temp was over 120 and the air temp was 83, so we knew traction was going to be tough. We backed off a little and made the best Nitro Funny Car pass of the session with a 5.183 at 295.08. Still #3 on the ladder.

We'll go get ready for tonite and may really crank it up. Check the blog later for an update or go to

Friday, August 22, 2008

Good Run Fri Night - #3

Here's how we stand after Friday nights qualifying session in Tulsa

1. Matt Hagan '05 Monte Carlo 5.086 298.60
2. Terry Haddock Race Girl '05 Stratus 5.098 283.73
3. Andy Kelley Holbrook Perf. Parts '02 Camar 5.124 298.93
4. Jeff Diehl '05 Monte Carlo 5.362 226.01
5. Justin Schriefer Ruane Construction '02 Camaro 5.509 213.00
6. John Lawson TORCO '08 Impala 5.705 205.60
7. Todd Simpson Modular Systems '02 Camaro 5.871 177.21
8. Paul Lee Merchants Tire & Auto '02 Cama 6.622 132.95
--------- Not Qualified ---------
9. Steven Macklyn '05 Monte Carl 6.685 172.45
10. Dan Sosenka Mr. Magoo '97 Avenger 6.819 156.44
11. Randy Bykowsky Hi-Velocity Systems '05 Monte 9.191 90.91

Monday, August 4, 2008

Andy Kelley Earns First Career Nitro Funny Car Championship; Wins IHRA Northern Nationals

Martin, MI – August 4, 2008 – When the tire smoke cleared Sunday evening at US131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan, Andy Kelley, driver of the 7,000 horsepower Kelley Motorsports Nitro Funny Car, was hoisting his first IHRA Ironman trophy over his head, and had tears in his eyes.

“I can’t describe this feeling,” said Kelley. “My family and my crew have all sacrificed so much for me to be able to stand here today. We all have a passion for this sport and to finally be here in the winners circle is validation of what we’ve poured our life into.”

After qualifying in the fifth position for Sunday’s elimination rounds, Kelley was a model of consistency, driving his Richard Hartman and Nicky Boninfante-tuned fuel funny car to a first round win over number one qualifier Cory Lee, defeating number three qualifier John Lawson in round two, and out driving former event champion and number two qualifier Paul Lee in the Finals. What added to the drama was the fact that John Lawson was driving World Champion Dale Creasy, Jr’s car while Creasy recovers from injuries sustained earlier this summer in Edmonton, Canada, and Kelley had been oh-for-his career versus Creasy.

Kelley’s consistency is evident in the times the team recorded during the event. During qualifying they recorded a 5.16 second ET and set top speed for the event with a 296 mph pass. Then, with Richard Hartman and Nick Boninfante doing the tuning, and Andy doing the driving, the team was a lethal combination during eliminations, running a 5.15 second ET in round one and a 5.18 second ET in round two, before the hot track got to them in the Finals.

In the Final round, Andy gave up the starting line advantage to a cat-quick reaction time from Paul Lee, but Lee’s car began spinning the tires at mid-track. Although Kelley also began to lose traction in the same area, Andy was better able to control the tire spin, and took the victory with a 5.54 second ET at 263 miles per hour.

“I knew he had me at the light and I thought I blew it” continued Kelley. “But I could tell he got in trouble. As soon as I realized that, though, I felt my car start to spin. But I was able to blip the throttle and get hooked back up again. When I heard Dad hollerin’ in the radio I knew we’d won.”

The win was a big one for Kelley Motorsports. A combination of high diesel fuel prices and rising costs for just about everything the team consumes in weekend of IHRA competition had forced them to consider parking the car for the three remaining events of the year. But the Event Champion purse has injected needed financing into the team, and will improve their ability to finish the season. Next up is the IHRA Sooner Nationals on August 22-24 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“I couldn’t do this without the support of my family, my wife Bron and my two wonderful kids Anna Drew and Heath, my brother Neal who keeps our family business going when we’re out of town racing, and, of course, my Dad, Pat, who is our Crew Chief and my inspiration.” Concluded an emotional Kelley. “I am so thankful to God and all these wonderful people who are helping me live my dream.”

Kelley Motorsports is based in Piedmont, SC, and campaigns a Nitro Funny Car in the ten-event IHRA Knoll-Gas Nitro Jam series. To follow Andy’s progress, check out the IHRA social networking site at, or his blog at


Wow, this Ironman is HEAVY!!

It's pretty crazy right now. We just won our first IHRA Event and I'm sitting here staring at the Ironman trophy. One of my buddies called me from home and asked me, half-joking, if I teared up at all. Heck yeah I did. Just thinking about all the racing we've done, and all the sacrifices we've made over the years. Over ten years of racing alcohol funny cars at match races in little places you've never heard of. The decision to go Nitro racing when everyone told us we were nuts. All the great people that help us do what we do. The frustrations over the past couple of years, never seeming to get any breaks. It all came over me when I was standing there holding the Ironman with my team mobbing me. Wow. I just can't tell you all how satisfying this is.

That final round run was unreal. First, Paul Lee nails me at the light. By a full tenth. Not that my reaction time was horrible, but he cut an amazing .016 light. Just as I saw him start to have problems I felt my tires start to spin, too. I pedaled it really quick and it hooked back up and the next thing I know my Dad is hollering into the head set in my Impact helmet that we won.

I have to thank a ton of people, all who contribute in significant ways to the team.

Richard Hartman and his dad Virgil. We wouldn't even be in Nitro racing if it weren't for those fine, fine people. Richard tunes our car and does a great job. I know I've talked about my crew before, but they are so special. Ray Murphy who is like the Sergant of our team. Jay Giles who we met in Rockingham a couple years ago and who has given us so much effort. Don Lynch who does bottom end for us and has a wife and two great boys at home that he has to leave to come race with us. Butch Beacham who works with us in the shop, drives the transport, and does most of our setup and tear-down. Neal Brittain who works with Don and who joined us this year helping do the clutch and anything else. Jill Kelley who mixes the fuel and cooks. Bob Szelag who takes great pictures and is fun to have around. Paul Constantine who does marketing and PR and sometimes gets greasy with us when he can get to the track. I really hate that he missed my first win. He has been a huge part of our blog and getting us exposure. And we had help this weekend from Nicky Boninfante who was great to have around (and congrats to him for getting hired by Kalitta Motorsports to be co-crew chief for Doug Kalitta). These guys all work for free and give up their weekends for me. We also had Butch's son with us, Josh, that is a huge help in cleaning parts and whatever else we needed.

My wife Bron for being soooooo patient with me. This was our 10 year wedding anniversary and she let me go racing. I love you Bron. Anna Drew and Heath, my kids. My big bro Neal. He gets manages our shop when we're out playing. And of course, my Dad. My dad Pat got me into this, supports me in this, manages the team, and is our Crew Chief.

The sponsors who help me out. Thank you to Donnie and Barbara Holbrook of Holbrook Performance Parts. Mike Ertzberger of General Machine of Anderson. ARC. Victory One Valves. Impact Racing. Horton Race Cars. Hartman Machine works, JRD Hauling and Grading. Silt Fence Installation, R&R Construction, Darton Sleeves, Ross Racing Pistons, Amalie Racing oil, Vickery's Speed shop, Moore Performance, R3 head and Neck restraint, RH2, S&S, and a very special thanks to Connie Davis for his support last year. Thanks y'all.

More later...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Heading to Martin, MI

Spent today getting everything set for Butch to leave with the transport for Martin, Michigan and the IHRA Northern Nationals. I can't wait to get back out on the track after our huge disappointment in Grand Bend. We were so optimistic after our first ever #1 qualifying spot, and we really had the car dialed in. But on Sunday our day was cut short by a 2 dollar O-ring.

After I did the burnout and started to back up, I saw the track officials coming out on the track with mops and my heart sank. When Butch raised the body, I saw fuel shooting out the side of motor, and Richard went running off to get some tools. He was back in a second and started trying to stop the leak. Steven Macklyn was in the other lane and waited as long as he could, but eventually the track official staged him and shut us down and our weekend was over. I really wanted to throw up. We had a new sponsor, ARC, and were excited about the possibilities that having the fastest car out there that weekend held.

Anyway, on to the next race. I can't tell you all how good I feel about our team and the car. We really have it dialed in. Richard Hartman is a great tuner, and now we have enough runs on this car to KNOW it, and I'm getting better as a driver. And I've been blessed with such a great team.

The team is all volunteers, and give up weekends with families to come out and work hard, up their elbows in oil and grease, in the summer heat. We drive all night to and from the races. They sleep in a hot race trailer on cots because we are all broke. Ray, Don, Jay, Neil, Butch. Paul when his job permits (or he's not in Vegas). Bryan when his boss at Home Depot lets him take a weekend off (and oh yeah, he's a HS Math teacher, too). These guys are worth their weight in gold which, if you've ever seen Butch, is pretty self explanatory......thanks guys.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

#1 Qualifier

I am so thrilled to be the #1 qualifier in Grand Bend. We ran one more pass in qualifying today and put up a 5.18 at 298. Good mph but the car was soggy off the line and it cost us some ET. This is our first time taking the top spot in qualifying and is pretty satisfying considering the challenges we've had this season. Here is the final qualifying order.

1. Andy Kelley ARC '02 Firebird 5.013 298.27
2. Terry Haddock Race Girl '05 Stratus 5.042 293.28
3. Jack Wyatt Olson Paint & Body '06 Stratus 5.118 242.36
4. Paul Lee Merchants Tire & Auto '02 Cama 5.155 292.52
5. Steven Macklyn '05 Monte Carl 5.172 287.66
6. Matt Hagan Shelor Motor Mile '06 Monte Ca 5.262 247.02
7. Jeff Diehl Red Line Oil '05 Monte Carlo 5.496 248.66
8. Cory Lee Teaamsters Canada '03 Firebird 5.546 205.98
--------- Not Qualified ---------
9. Rob Bruce Zombie '01 Camaro 12.426 65.16
10. Jason Duchene Castrol Syntec '00 Camaro 15.408 61.45

Friday, July 18, 2008

Grand Bend Friday Night

Woo Hoo!! Just ran a 5.01 at 294mph which put me in the provisional #1 qualifying spot and earned us the "Last Man Standing". We are racing this weekend for our new sponsor, Applied Racing Components (ARC) and want to thank them for supporting us.

Shouldn't spend too much time posting, we are down two crewmembers this weekend and are shorthanded, but wanted to let everyone know we made a strong pass tonite.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Message for Dale Creasy, Jr.

Dale, hope you get a chance to read this. All of us at Kelley Motorsports; me, Dad, Jill, Butch, Ray, Jay, Don, Neil and Paul all feel awful about what happened to you up in Edmonton, are praying for your speedy recovery, and for the strength you'll need over the next 9 months of rehab.

What makes us feel even worse is we kind of blame ourselves. You see Dale, you need us as your good luck charm. I mean, when we started racing full time in the middle of 2006, that's when you got hot and won your first IHRA World Championship. Then of course, we raced all of 2007 and you were unstoppable on your way to another crown. All it took was for us to be in the other lane, and you'd rip off another one of your consistently perfect passes. And this year you were in the points lead as we raced together again. Then, we had to miss Edmonton and look what happened!! Seriously, we all respect the heck out of you and what you've accomplished, and just as importantly, the WAY you accomplished it.

We'll just have to put our goal of finally beating you on the shelf for a little bit while you get better. What are we against you? Oh-fer-ten or something like that? Well, we know we have to beat the best to be the best.

I hope you can make it out to the track and hang out with us while you're rehabbing, because if you don't we'll miss you. Give me a call or shoot me an email but make sure you're off your meds or I'll get you to give me your secret. :)

Hope to see you back soon.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Pulling my hair out

I actually thought I could take it, but I must be weak. I am going crazy not being in edmonton. I have been checking IHRA's website, and it needs some timely updating. I was talking to Paul yesterday about not being in canada and I told him I must be a little bit smart, since I am not in edmonton, because on several occasions I was on my way to the bank to borrow the money to finance the trip, but something always came up and I just couldnt justify it. We are thankfully slammed at our business, K&K truck Service, so we worked today. Yea, its the 4 of july, but I need the money and so does my employees. Were gonna work on the car all day tommorrow, getting ready for Grand Bend. I feel like doing a 1/4 mile burnout, without the throttle stop. I keep thinking back to last year, all the fun we had at edmonton, and it honestly makes me a little mad. Let me explain. We have the best complete crew out there, bar none. We have a great team, great car, parts and pieces, great marketing composure and we can't find enough funding to go to all the races. It frustrates me because of all the hard work we put into this deal and the potential we have to offer someone or business sometimes seems to go unnoticed. I do have alot of great friends and companies that have supported our team for a long time and I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart. WHEN we get the big sponsor deal, they all know they have a place on my car and that will never change. I wish all my friends and fellow racers at edmonton the very best, stay safe and haul @#$. I miss not being there, but I'll be in Grand Bend. Hey folks, if you have any ideas on finding sponsorship, shoot me a line.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Sick about missing Edmonton

I gotta say, I'm just sick to my stomach that we have to miss the Edmonton race. The track up there is great, the fans up there are great, and I love the fact the IHRA recognizes their passion for racing and gives them an event every year. It's a beautiful area of Canada, the people are so nice, and just wish that we'd have been able to raise the money to make it up there. Hopefully next year.

The good news is we've got some sponsorship agreements close to finalizing. It's not a "six-figure" long-term deal, but it's with a company intimately involved in racing and performance, and we're looking forward to helping them grow their business.

I hope everyone has a great 4th of July. This is such a great country, and even though times are tougher now than they've been in a while, and we've got challenges in front of us as a society, our economic system, our political system and our culture in general has proven time and time again that we can rise to meet these obstacles and emerge better off than we were. So go celebrate our Independence, but think about how you're going to make a difference as an individual.

Monday, June 16, 2008

HOT HOT HOT!!! Budds Creek wrap up

We had a reasonably successful trip to the IHRA Presidents' Club Nationals in Budds Creek this weekend. Butch arrived with the transport on Thursday, and had everything set up when we rolled in at 4AM on Friday morning after driving all night from Piedmont.

We were on a great pass on Friday night's qualifying session when we dropped a few cylinders just past half track, and I got pushed around so bad that I had to click it off. We went 5.29 at only 220, which ended up being our only qualifying run of the weekend as we skipped Saturday afternoon's session and Saturday night got rained out. Luckily it was good enough for the 7th spot.

I had someone ask me how it feels when you drop a cylinder and get pushed around the track, and best I can describe it is the like the feeling you get when you get passed on the highway by a big truck, and your car gets pushed over. Only in a funny car it's about 10x as intense. I had the wheel full left and I was still moving to my right toward the wall at 250+ so I had to shut off and coast through the lights.

Speaking of Saturday, we sat out the first afternoon qualifying session when the cars in front of us all couldn't make it down the track. The track temp was 147 degrees, which is about as hot as I've ever seen it. When tracks get that hot, all the oil and grease trapped in the track surface rises up and makes the track very slick. Air temp was 90, no clouds in the sky and just wicked hot. We run more pressure in the tires to get more contact area on the ground when the track is hot, and I can't remember ever setting them higher than we had in preparation for that round.

On Sunday we faced Matt Hagen in round one. Matt's in his first year of nitro funny car and is doing fairly well. They beat us in Milan when we lost our blower belt, so we felt like we owed him. We both lauched clean, but he started having traction issues a couple hundred feet out, and I was on a clean run until about 800 feet. At that point I heard the motor start to rev and the back of the car lifted up as we started spinning the tires. I had no idea Matt was having issues, so I pedaled the car by taking my foot out of the throttle for a split second and then rolling back into it gently. If you stomp on it when you pedal you risk a backfire, or worse, so I pedaled it gently and we went 5.40 which was good enough for the win.

In round two, we faced Mr Consistency, Dale Creasy, Jr. I swear we must be 0-10 against him, and he NEVER has a bad run when we're in the other lane. Of course, he ran a great 5.11 on a 140 degree track, and we only went 5.30, but made a clean pass. We just had it set up soft for the poor track conditions, and also drove through the clutch a little at half track. And of course, that 5.30 was faster than either car in the OTHER semi-final, just like at Rockingham, so again the breaks eluded us. We can catch a break here or there, but not string together a couple in a row. It's like the gods of drag racing are telling us that we aren't getting ANYTHING given to us, we have to EARN it.

I've talked about this before, but last year our problem was smoking the tires at the hit of the throttle. Hats off to Richard Hartman and the crew, because this now makes 16 passes this year and we've yet to smoke the tires. Now it's time to start throwing some more power at it and finding the fine line between a strong launch and a tire smoking disaster.

One of the best parts about racing is meeting the fans. This race we met David and Theresa Moore, and their 12 year old daughter Lacey. They are from Williamston, SC, which is the town right next to Piedmont where we live. They are such big drag racing fans they made the 8 hour drive up to Maryland to spend the weekend at the track. It's neat to meet families that are as knowledgeable of drag racing as the Moore's, and great to see them raising the "next generation" of fans. As all us racers know, if it wasn't for the fans, we wouldn't be able to race.

Next race is over the July 4th weekend in Edmonton, Canada. I hate to say this, but unless something changes (like we find some sponsor help) we may have to skip this race. It would cost us over $6500 in diesel fuel for the transport, and about $5000 in airfare to get the crew to the race. Since we usually drive, and since most races are alot closer, that's about $10,000 more than we usually spend to go racing. So if you know any companies that could use the marketing exposure and promotional opportunity a race sponsorship could bring, and have products/customers in Edmonton, Canada, let us know!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

New Body in Budds Creek

Getting ready to head out to Budds Creek, MD for the Presidents' Cup Nationals. For those of you who can make it out to the track, you'll see us debut our new '04 Camaro body. It's all black carbon fiber and looks tough. We busted our tails all weekend to get the fitment right but now have it ready to go. So be prepared for a "new look" from Kelley Motorsports.

I also gotta say that I respect how difficult it must be for IHRA President Aaron Polburn right now. With the NHRA's testing ban (resulting from the nitro shortage), he's been faced with the prospect of an influx of NHRA nitro teams to IHRA events in order to get their testing runs in. On one hand, I'm sure he'd love to see some of the popular big money teams show up. I mean, the presence of a John Force, Ron Capps or Gary Scelzi would virtually ensure a sellout of the event and bring more attention to IHRA nitro racing. And as a business manager, I'm sure Mr. Polburn would love the increased gate receipts and publicity.

On the other hand, he should be applauded for his long term view of what's healthy for the IHRA. Teams like ours depend on the earnings we get by qualifying and going rounds to fund our operations and allow us to make it from race to race. Unlike the big teams like JFR, Schumacher, Snake Racing, etc, we don't have seven-figure sponsorship deals that allow us to tune our cars to the limit, run fresh tires, etc... It's all we can do to simply cover our expenses and make it to the next race. If a bunch of NHRA teams came to Budds Creek I'm sure it would make for an exciting event. But most of us IHRA regulars would get shut out of the purse which would constrain our ability to run subsequent events. Maybe the NHRA guys would come back one more time, maybe not. But in a year where nitromethane prices have doubled and diesel fuel prices have done the same, it costs us over $2,000 more per event to compete for the same purse. And in the current economic climate, sponsorship dollars are tougher to come by as well.

So while the rumors that IHRA has turned down some NHRA racers from participating in the Budds Creek race may or not be true, I have a renewed respect for a man who, unlike many in the business world today, has shunned short term profit for long term stability.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Match Race in Bristol

Well, we're back from our match race against Bob Gilbertson in Bristol on Friday night. I gotta say, I was very, very impressed with the crowd they had up there. To be honest, I was a little worried that since the NHRA was just there a couple weeks ago, turnout would be low. Wrong. We were supposed to make our first run at 7PM, but due to the huge turnout and long lines waiting to get in, we didn't make our first run until after 8PM. And the fans were great. I must have signed over 1,000 T-shirts. All I can figure is that there is a big unfulfilled demand out there for Top Fuel drag racing.

Anyway, we took advantage of the match race opportunity to test a new cam, and all I'll say is I think we'll go back to the one we'd been running. First pass we were running well, but pushed out an intake gasket at half track and had to shut down. The second pass we ran a 5.30, but I shut down at 1000'. The car just felt sluggish past half track and I didn't want to push it and have another "roman candle" (as the announcer in Milan put it). But I'm glad we had a chance to get some data on this alternate cam in case we need to run it in a pinch later this year.

Aside from the technical stuff, Bob and I put on a great show for the fans. We did long burnouts before our runs, past the 330' markers. The track is beautiful, the facility is great, the track management is first class, and the fans were awesome.

Next up is the IHRA Presidents' Cup Nationals in Budds Creek, MD the weekend of June 13-15. With the NHRA going through a nitromethane shortage, and outlawing Monday test sessions, the rumor is that some of those teams may come out to Budds Creek and use the IHRA event as a test session. Should make it fun!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Motor City Nationals Update

Wow, that was a long layoff. Five weeks is just too long to go without racing during the season. But we got alot of work done on the car, like getting our blocks repaired. I'll bet you didn't know that we can patch small areas of our aluminum engine blocks with JB Weld. Yep. But we got them fixed the right way in the down time.

The weather in Milan this weekend was great, and once again we came oh so close to having a great weekend. Friday night qualifying, our opponent had some issues at the line, causing a delay after the burnout, and we were on a very good run until we started to suck the tank dry at around 1000'. We managed to go 5.19 but we all knew as strong as the Nitro Funny Car fields are this year that a time like that wouldn't hold up.

The track was interesting. Most of the teams had their tunes backed off and most of the NFC racers had tire shake issues on Friday night because the track was GRABBING. Tim Wilkerson's son Dan ran a 4.83 in his Dad's car, so the track could hold a big run.

On Saturday afternoon we ran a 5.18 and my motor let go just before the finish line. We went lean in the #7 cyliner and burned through the head into the lifter valley. All that cylinder pressure entering the lifter valley caused the intake manifold to blow into about 20 pieces!

We got the car back together for Saturday night, had to replace all our wiring and replaced the motor, and really had to thrash to be ready to go. Came out on my last run and ran a great first 200' then I had some tire shake, I tried to pedal it real quick and when I got back on the gas the tires bit and I did a wheel stand with the front tires about 3 ft in the air. Our buddy Bob Szelag from Bob Z's photos got a great shot of the wheel stand that I hope to have up here soon. Luckily it didn't do any damage to my front end when it hit.

Then we had to sweat, because we didn't think a 5.18 was going to keep us in the field. But we got lucky and made the field on the bump spot.

On Sunday we faced Matt Hagan in round one. I had him by a couple hundreths off the tree, and another couple hundreths at 60 foot, and around 330' we were ahead by about half a car length but my blower belt broke and the motor went dead. And just as soon as that happened to me, his motor quit and we both coasted through the lights, but his extra few tenths of a second under power gave him the momentum to coast to the victory.

We have a match race next Friday night in Bristol, TN against Bob Gilbertson. If you're in the area come out and check us out. We'll run at 7PM and 8:30.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Semi-Finals in Rockingham!

Our DNQ in San Antonio seems miles away after a good showing at "The Rock" this weekend. The weekend got off to a great start when I made the first 4 second pass of my short nitro career on Friday night when we went 4.995 at 299.5mph. The track temp was 80, the air temp was in the 60's and we had the car set up pretty average. It launched hard and straight and our .902 60-foot time was amongst our best ever. At the thousand foot mark the car made a hard move to the right, and I needed to steer hard left to stay off the wall.

Saturday we only made one pass, as there were showers off and on during the day. On Friday night we cranked up the blower boost by changing pulley's, and put more timing in the motor, especially after the 60 foot mark, to try to run in the low 4.90's or high 4.80's. The car launched hard, but we dropped the #6 cylinder almost immediately. A couple hundred feet later we pushed the head gasket out, torched the head and put a small hole in the block behind the #8 cylinder. Oh well.

We ended up qualifying third and faced Steven Macklyn in the first round. We set up the car to go about 5.05 and didn't want to be too aggressive because track temps were in the mid-90s and we wanted to make a clean pass. Macklyn smoked the tires at the hit and we ran a clean 5.08 at 291 to take the win!! The team was ecstatic and I was happy. Steve Macklyn exemplified the class of all the guys we race with when he came by our trailer to congratulate me. Despite the disappointment he must have been feeling, he had a genuine smile on his face and offered to help if we needed anything.

In round 2 we had to face Paul Lee who has been driving a Paul Smith tuned car to some great times this weekend. His 4.77 on Saturday night was a great lap. Anyway, we just tried to come out and make a clean pass rather than try to chase the #'s he's been putting up. He got a couple hundreths of a sec jump on me at the line and was pulling away down track, so I clicked it off at around 1000 feet rather than risk blowing something up and eating parts. I still ended up with a 5.25, but it was no match for his 4.88.

The thing we're happiest about so far, is that we've made 9 passes this year. Two in testing. three in SA, and four here in Rockingham, and haven't smoked the tires once. That was our biggest problem last year and it seems, at least for now, that we have it figured out. But we've not had the 120 degree track temps that we'll see during the summer. Those hot greasy tracks get real tricky.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Painful DNQ

Well, not a good way to kick off the season. We made three consistent passes in qualifying; a 3.528, 3.537 and 3.518 on our last pass, and missed qualifying as the bump turned out to Jack Wyatt at 3.469, which is just about what we thought it would take going in to the race.

Last year our issue was consistency. WHEN we ran clean, we were running in the 5.0x's at around 300 but were smoking the tires way to much. We found a bad part in our clutch setup that was causing it to lock up at the hit and got it replaced, but I think as a team we're so skittish about that we're a little afraid to crank our tunes up to hot.

Going into the last session, Richard and Dad set the car up to run in the 3.40-3.45 range. We added some timing and brought the clutch in faster, but the car didn't seem respond down low at all. Our speed of 241.02 is a little bit high for the 3.518 we ran, and from my perspective it really didn't start to pull until late in the run. Maybe if we were running a full quarter mile we'd have had a good time, but even then, our eigth mile splits last year were in the 3.30's so who knows.

This really hurts us in the pocketbook. Financially, we have our operating costs setup to where we can run break even by qualifying or going a round, but this DNQ is like waking up and having someone hand you a bill for $7,000 that you didn't expect the day before. Oh well, I can PROMISE you we will be alot more aggressive in Rockingham. Richard knows how to make power, look at how he has Bruce Litton's car running...Bruce was the #1 qualifier in Top Fuel Dragster this weekend.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Good first qualifying run

We had a nice clean pass on our first qualifying attempt tonite. Had a conservative setup and the car hooked up and ran well. Maybe we'll open it up some tommorrow.

1. Bob Gilbertson, Dodge Stratus, 3.353, 255.92
2. Jeff Diehl, Chevy Monte Carlo, 3.436, 256.89
3. Dale Creasy Jr., Chevy Impala, 3.463, 247.84
4. Jack Wyatt, Stratus, 3.514, 212.29
5. Andy Kelley, Pontiac Firebird, 3.528, 239.02
6. Matt Hagan, Monte Carlo, 4.343, 142.49
7. Jason Duchene, Firebird, 5.155, 96.53
8. Allen Middendorf, Chevy Camaro, 5.468, 72.41
Not Qualified:
9. Steven Macklyn, 5.544, 139.31
10. Terry Haddock, 7.920, 84.41
11. Todd Simpson, 11.062, 51.21

Talk to you all again tomorrow night.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Well, after an 18 hour drive we arrived in San Antionio. Got everything set up, and it looks like the rain has moved through for good.

Today IHRA announced their blog and social networking site on, and I' proud to say we're one of the first bloggers they invited to participate. Check out IHRA's press release at

Anyway, since this is the first officially scheduled 1/8th mile national event, I thought I'd share my thoughts on this move by the IHRA. First off, as a racer on a tight budget, I like it from a financial standpoint. We'll use fewer parts, and it's less wear and tear on the equipment. Alot of match races we run are 1/8th mile events so we know what we need to do with the car, and frankly, there's not much we'd change in the setup anyway.

On the downside, the races will be won in the first 60'. In a 1/4 mile race, if you mess up on your reaction time or smoke the tires, you have a chance to recover if your opponent drops cylinders or has issues down track. In this format, if you have a bad launch and the other guy leaves cleanly, there is a very limited opportunity to catch him.

The other negative is purely emotional. It will be easy for the naysayers to use this to make us appear inferior or "less than" the NHRA guys. Hey, last time I checked we weren't trying to be anyone but who we are, and deliver the world of Nitro-fuel drag racing to folks who might otherwise not have the chance to see it, and do it in a more personal and intimate way.

Finally, from a fans perspective, you won't see the 300 mph number flash on the board, but most of the action happens inside the 1/8th mile (which is where most of our fans are sitting anyway), so all you'll miss is watching the rear ends of our cars go down the back half of the track. At least, I hope it's not a big deal to the fans. They're (you're) the ultimate judges of whether this is a good move by the IHRA.

Monday, March 31, 2008



Piedmont, SC – March 31, 2008 – After a satisfying fifth place finish in the 2007 IHRA Nitro Funny Car points standings, Kelly Motorsports spent the off season looking for ways to improve upon their inaugural season. Months of work on the clutch setup and fuel delivery system, as well as refining most of the other components on their 7,000+ horsepower nitro-fueled, Firebird-bodied funny car, have driver Andy Kelley and his team excited about the season opening Amalie Oil Texas Nationals this weekend in San Antonio, Texas.

Despite finishing in the top 5 in points, and collecting several “Last Man Standing” low-qualifier awards, the Kelley team was frustrated last season by a tendency to lose traction at the starting line and smoke the tires, short-circuiting several chances to take home a national event win.

“Last year, our big struggle was getting our car to hook up consistently” said Andy. “Our number one priority this off season was to get our clutch setups right, and Richard Hartman made a significant discovery in our clutch system that should help us run more consistently.”

A successful testing session at the Rockingham Dragway last week has crew chief and team owner Pat Kelley excited about the upcoming season, especially the season opening race in San Antonio.

“Our testing session in Rockingham went as well as we could have expected. Despite track temperatures over 110 degrees, we got the car to hook up, launch hard, and run straight on both test runs.” said Pat. “We also added a new, high capacity fuel pump that will help us make more power and top our previous record speed of 305 mph.”

For a family-owned and operated team like Kelley Motorsports, testing sessions are a rare luxury, but are evidence of the commitment that Andy and Pat Kelley have made to the 2008 season.

“Our sponsors, great companies like Holbrook Performance Parts, Vickery’s Speed Shop, General Machine of Anderson, Victory One Valves, and Impact Racing are helping us realize a dream.” said Andy. “The IHRA Nitro Funny Car field is so much stronger this year that it’s going to take significant improvement to keep up with the established teams like Creasy, Wyatt, Haddock and Gilbertson, and to fend off the new teams that are beginning to make an impact like Matt Hagan and Jeff Diehl.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

I hope the Easter bunny left you a basket full of chocolate and eggs. The Easter bunny left 2 large basket for our kids. They are very excited and now there painted some eggs. (Then we will be washing their clothes) Well, Kelley Motorsports had a very good weekend. First of all, anna drew went with me. Her mama was a little nervous because she and heath stayed at home. I was very proud of her. She was very good and helped where she could. The only problem now is she says she wants to go to all of them. We went to Rockingham and made 2 back to back runs during the day without smoking the tires. Our first run was a planned shut off at 300. It's been 5 months since I've been in the car and I was a little rusty, but all went according to plan. I have all new Impact! safety equipment which fit me very well. I want to thank Dale Vickery of Vickery's Speed shop in Anderson SC and John Schneider with Impact! The car left straight and pulled hard all the way to 300ft where i clicked it off. We came back and serviced the car. Everything looked perfect so it was basic service and back to the starting line. This time it's a planned 1/8 mile shut off. The car launched hard , blacked tracked a little and still was pulling strong until i clicked it off at 1/8 mile mark. I sure wanted to run it on through, but with financial conditions, it just wasn't feasable, plus our initial plans were to just make 2 300ft runs. We came back and serviced the car and again, everything looked perfect, so were confident going to San Antonio. I got some good news last week when Mrs. Holbrook of Holbrook Performance parts called and told me they would be returning to help me out this year. I also want to thank Terry Mcmillen for giving me some Amalie Nitro Oil. Every thing helps when your on a small budget. I want to thank my crew for their hard work and dedication to my team. Butch, Don, Jay, Ray, Richard, Paul, and Jim. I also want to thank the efforts of Steve, David, Jack and Vince for their help this weekend. Well, me, Dad and jill are excited about going to texas and hope to bring home our first win. See you soon.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Hello everyone, its been a while since my last post. A lot has been going on around here. We were planning on being at the feb. test at Rockingham, but some family issues came up and I just could not go. We are still looking for one or more marketing partners for this year, so if you know anyone, help us out. We went and registered Anna Drew for k5, she is growing up quick. Heath is all about Funnycars, and he's only 3. Well, its late and Anna Drew is sitting on my lap helping me type and now she says its time to go to bed, see you at the races!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Season prep

Man, we will be racing shortly. Time surely flies when your having fun. We have been really busy getting everything prepped for the 08 season. We have some new product sponsors coming on board and were still looking for more. We had the car at Horton race cars having some new "stuff" installed. We have been looking high and low for our "tire smoker" problem and we actually found several. Richard Hartman has actually found them, he has worked his tail off helping us. I am pumped to get this year started. Like I said, we made numerous changes to the car, so we will do something we have never done--TEST! We plan on being at rockingham in feb. to do several launches to see how everything is going, then head to San Antonio in April. We're having a new aluminum air to air cooler being made by Griffin thermal products here in Piedmont SC for our Freightliner. I'm ready to put it on and see what the results will be. I know Griffin makes high quality and durable componets, so this will be no exception. I cant say enough about the help richard and my crew has given us. We will be painting the front of the Firebird tommorrow and touching up a few spots as well. We have a big weekend planned- working on the car, truck, trailer, parts, bodies, and insulating the inside of our race shop. I want to thank the efforts of Danny and Lanita Driggers and Robert Griffith of R&R Construction. What a huge help they have been. Me and my dad went over to see connie after his Knee surgery. He is doing well but still keep him in your prayers for a speedy recovery. Until next time.....