Kelsey Battles at MSR Cresson
Aug 25, 2013
KELSEY BATTLES AT MSR CRESSON
RPSRaceTeam.com’s Danny S. Kelsey faced some of his toughest competition of the year, and came out on top of the 8th round of the CMRA’s Sprint Championship Series with 4 big wins. The CMRA can be counted on to attract competition and this event let none of the racers or fans down.
Chapter 8 of the CMRA Championship series would feature three of the CMRA featured riders over the past several years. RPSRaceTeam.com’s Danny Kelsey was finally rested up after a torrent of racing in June and July. Kelsey would be facing fellow Texas competitor Ty Howard and Superbike series competitor Dustin Dominguez. If fans were ready for some fast laps good racing, CMRA was the place racers wanted to be this weekend. The race weekend was shaping up to be one hell of a show!
The first obstacle for the team this weekend however would not have anything to do with what was happening on the track, but rather what was happening off the track…namely the failure of the team’s primary and secondary power generators. With temperatures over 100 degrees expected, having no power not only was a challenge for tire warmer operation(s), but the cooling fans and A/C for the trailer that would cool down Kelsey in between his races. The team was helped through the combination of borrowed generators from Jack Moss/Chris Leggett and Brandon Spradling.
With power issues under control, the team focused on getting the RPSRaceTeam.com Pirelli shod GSXR-1000 and GSXR-750 team bikes optimally setup, but the team was not able to gain much setup data on Friday as unusually heavy practice grids created a very busy track with less than 5 clear laps the entire day for the Georgetown, Texas rider to improve the setups. The team entered Sunday morning a bit “blind”, but still felt confident that Kelsey would be able to set the pace needed to win.
“Chatter on Saturday” was intense. Who was going to break the track record? Rumors of various lap times by the top 3 riders created drama, betting lines, and fun for fans. Sunday would sort out it all out. Knowing that all three top riders have the skill, determination, and ability to run the fastest pace, made for a lot excitement and no doubt that a good show was to be provided to the fans and fellow racers.
Sunday’s competition started with the Breast Cancer Research Awareness Formula One qualifying. The session resembled an AMA Pro qualifying session as riders were circulating looking for a tow. Kelsey however was not concerned and entered as the first bike on the track and put the hammer down on his opening lap then pulled in. The result was Kelsey posted the fastest qualifying lap with a 1:14.363 on the RPSRaceTeam.com Silkolene lubricants GSXR-1000. With less than a half second between Kelsey and the lap record, the team felt confident they had the “right stuff”.
All season, the team has neglected its GSXR-750 as it focuses on the GSXR-1000 due to the competition level. This weekend was no exception. Kelsey however was able to run in the solid 1:15’s while winning the B Superstock as his “opening race”. One thing the team did do for a change is run VP MR-12, which it hasn’t run since NOLA. The “extra pop” in the power band was a huge help! Kelsey additionally helped his day with a win in A Superstock just a few minutes before the start of Formula One Expert. This would help his confidence, but also create a really tight window as the crew needed to change both front and rear tires, fuel, and get any changes made that Kelsey requested before the CMRA’s premiere race.
With tires changed and fuel added, Kelsey prepared for a real battle in the Breast Cancer Research Awareness Formula One featured event. As the starting lights set the field off, Kelsey took the lead and set the pace early posting a 1:14.217 on the 2nd laps. Kelsey was dealing with a serious challenge from Howard with Dominguez catching the two leaders. The pace picked intensified and on lap 3, the lower belly pan was beginning to fall off the DP Brakes outfitted GSXR-1000. Kelsey and Howard had separated themselves from the field as Dominguez was down in the rattlesnake after setting a new track record.
On lap 4, Kelsey was starting to get a lot of sliding from the rear tire. Howard was pressing, but also noting the belly pan that was falling off. By lap 5, the problem with the sliding tire was becoming exponentially worse. Kelsey was forced to surrender the lead as lap 6 began. Within three turns, Kelsey was off the track at the very dangerous “ricochet” turn as he was very surprised to find no grip at the rear. With body now about ready to fall off and tire situation that Kelsey had never experienced, he pulled of the track.
Upon inspection of the tire and review of video, it was realized that the tire was sent out with too high of a pressure and that caused the problem Kelsey experienced. “The belly pan was actually scheduled to be replaced at this event as it took some damage a few races ago. Unfortunately, we were trying to time the replacement of the bodywork with a sponsor that gave us a verbal and never came through. We were left having to wait until next round to replace the bodywork. Also, we used a total of 5 different generators this weekend. Each generator was powering the tire warmers at different levels. The one we used Sunday just wasn’t putting out the juice to get the tire up to full temp on the warmer. We realized that Danny was likely 6lbs over the highest pressure as we like to see on the rear tire at the time the anomaly occurred. At the pace that the front runners were posting, it was not going to work,” explained Crew Chief Marcus McBain.
The team was obviously disappointed with the result. Despite this, the team re-grouped to get Kelsey back on top of the box in the liter bike class. With A Superbike up, Kelsey pulled the trigger on the RPSRaceTeam.com GSXR-1000 and quickly put it into the lead. By lap three, Kelsey was being pursued heavily by Howard as he ran a 1:13.8 in pursuit of Kelsey. As the half way flags were displayed Danny was now in 2nd place shadowing Howard. Confident that he now had an optimal tire setup, Kelsey set himself up for a last lap pass. The moment came three turns from the finish line in the turn known as “buzzard’s neck”. Kelsey drove the Dynojet and M4 equipped GSXR-1000 into the turn and emerged the leader. At the line, Kelsey took the win by 0.015 seconds.
With a win in B Superbike to close the day, Kelsey would garner 4 wins out of 5 races entered. Despite the numerous challenges, the team faced the obstacles and overcame them. “I knew it was going to be a tough weekend. Ty (Howard) and Dustin (Dominguez) are two really great competitors. We have been racing against each other for years. Ty is all healed up now, so I knew he would be on the gas. I was really pleased that the team was able to perform through all the issues we were experiencing and still win 4 of the 5 races entered. I also need to thank DP Brakes. I really used the Brakes a lot at the end of the day as I was still feeling out the rear (traction). I always know that the DP Brake pads will get me in turn first and I want to thank Larry and his team from DP Brakes for taking care of us,” stated Kelsey.
The team thanks KMC Controls, Dynojet, Pirelli, JRi Shocks, GP Suspension, Silkolene, M4 Exhausts, RS-Taichi Apparel, Moto Liberty, South Central Race Center, Motopia, DP Brakes, K’s Motorsports, Lone Star Track Days, Racing Engine Services, Hotbodies Racing, WRW Racing, Shoei Helmets, and Raceworx for their tremendous Support. Danny Kelsey and RPSRaceTeam.com will be back in action October 5-6 at Texas World Speedway in College Station, Texas.