Kelsey crowned champion @ TWS
October 31, 2013
Kelsey closes out 2013 as #1
RPSRaceTeam.com’s Danny S. Kelsey closed out the 2013 in winning fashion during the 10th round of the CMRA Sprint Championship Series held at Texas World Speedway in College Station, Texas. The weather, track conditions, and points strategy created an interesting scenario for many CMRA racers and Kelsey would have to constantly evaluate his position before every race.
Entering the event with a 79 point lead for the CMRA Overall #1 plate and all... class championships “sewn up”, it was tempting for Kelsey and the team to “just mail it in”. Kelsey would have no part of that, “I don’t want to ever go out of on the track and not put forth my best effort. It just doesn’t work for me.” Crew chief Marcus McBain echoed that sentiment with both realizing that Kelsey would run hard and “play it smart” to some degree for the first two races.
Three laps into Friday practice, Kelsey was on the ground in the turn 8 area on his JRi Shocks and GP Suspension fitted GSXR-750. The team was puzzled. The track was slick for sure, but the team also found two broken water hose clamps with one off. It was not known if the water hoses/clamps failed before or after the crash…it was very concerning at the very least.
The team quickly put the M4 Exhausts/Pirelli shod GSXR-1000 up for Kelsey to go out on track, and it did not make it out of the pits. The clutch failed. Both McBain and Kelsey stayed cool and a new clutch was put in very quickly. Kelsey began to shake down the GSXR-1000 and things were “getting back on track”. A series of red flags however cut Friday Practice short and Kelsey was only able to get about 20 laps of total practice for the day.
“I was really disappointed. I had gone through the bikes prior to the event and had serviced the clutch that failed. It was actually on the better end of spec with a thickness of 48.5mm. I think Danny and I were somewhat relieved though as we know these are the kind of things that happened to us last time he clinched the #1 plate, and now we were through them,” stated crew chief Marcus McBain
Despite the issues, Kelsey ended the day well running solid lap times on the proven setup. The team however did not relax as massive Thunderstorms were scheduled for Sunday morning. Kelsey would start race day on a wet track with “drying conditions” the entire day.
As the starting lights launched Kelsey on the Dynojet tuned and DP Brakes equipped GSXR-750 for the first time on Sunday in the 750 Superstock race, he had planned to follow one of his competitors around for a few laps and “feel things out”. That plan was thrown out the window as Kelsey lead lap one. Danny was leading his championship rival Conner Blevins and the two riders separated themselves from the field dramatically. At the checkered flag, Kelsey played the “smart card” when he got off line a bit on the final turn and decided to let Blevins go by. The two riders finished over 30 seconds ahead of the 3rd place during their 6 lap battle.
With the first race down and 40 points gained, Kelsey needed only to finish in 2nd place in the next race and he would be crowned with the #1 plate. As the starting lights put field into turn one for the Open Superstock race, Kelsey quickly put himself on point. As the race began to unfold, red flags ended the race on lap 2. A four lap restart was now scheduled. Kelsey felt a bit more confident knowing the track conditions, but also realized fellow Pirelli rider Eddie Thornton was up to the task of running a winning pace.
On the restart, Kelsey put the hammer down. Thornton though was giving no quarter and passed Kelsey on the long front straight. Danny quickly took the point back and the two riders crossed the checkers with Kelsey in the winners spot. The leading duo had built up a 15 second gap over 3rd place in only 4 laps to underscore the intense pace they were running. In addition to the win, KELSEY WAS NOW THE 2013 CMRA OVERALL EXPERT CHAMPION!!!
Formula one played out the same with Kelsey and Thornton putting on an incredible show. Both riders dipping into the 1:44 range despite numerous water patches on the track. Kelsey would win by less than a second while the leading duo separated themselves by over 25 seconds from 3rd place after 8 laps.
Kelsey went mostly uncontested in Open superbike as he posted a 12.4 second win after 5 laps on his Silkolene lubricated GSXR-1000. As the final race of the day unfolded, Kelsey knew he was going to have an incredible challenge. He was now officially the #1 plate holder, and a bunch of hungry riders in 750 Superbike would now have a final opportunity to defeat the newly crowned champ. As the lights set Kelsey off for the final time of the year, Kelsey found himself in 3rd place as the field entered turn one. “There was no way I wanted to not win the final race of the year. These guys were hungry for sure, but I didn’t want to enter the off season not winning my last race,” reflected Kelsey.
On lap two, Kelsey began to set himself up for the win. He began to move in behind leader Blevins while he would maintain a close second. As the halfway flags were posted, Kelsey made his move. Posting a 1:44.930, he moved to the point. Kelsey then cemented the win with a 1:45.357. The win was Kelsey’s 44th of the season.
It was an outstanding season for Kelsey and the team. Danny was very happy to secure his 2nd overall championship and he reflected on the season and his CMRA racing career up to this point, “It was a good feeling for sure. The win was my 125th win in CMRA Sprint Championship Series sprint racing and the overall championship is my 18th club championship award. I am really humbled by all of the other great riders that have been on our starting grids over the years. I hope to back this championship plate with another next year. I also know it is much easier said than done!”
The team would not be able to compete at this level without the special efforts of KMC Controls, RS Taichi, Pirelli, Dynojet, Vortex, Motoliberty, South Central Race Center, Motopia, M4 Exhausts, DP Brakes, K’s Motorsports, GP Suspension, JRi Shocks, Lone Star Track Days, Shoei Helmets, Hotbodies Racing, Silkolene, Raceworx, RES, Barnett, and Chicken Hawk Racing.
The 750 Superbike race was a dogfight til the end. Here 2013 championship runner up Connor Blevins leads Kelsey at the mid-point of the race. Copyright 2013 - RPSRaceTeam.com/Hart Photography
Danny Kelsey pushes hard on the RPSRaceTeam.com GSXR-1000 during Open Superbike Copyright 2013 - RPSRaceTeam.com/Hart Photography