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- www.Holbrookperformance.com 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 (Shelor.com '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 www.ihra.com 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 www.ihra.com.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Good Run Fri Night - #3

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

1. Matt Hagan Shelor.com '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 NitroAGoGo.com '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 hazmatstore.net '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 http://www.racingjunk.com/profile/285086, or his blog at http://andykelleyracing.blogspot.com.


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. www.holbrookperformance.com 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...