Georgetown, Texas rider Danny S. Kelsey won all five races he entered (A Superstock, A Superbike, Formula One, B Superstock, and B Superbike) during the third round of the CMRA Sprint Championship Series held Sunday April 14th, 2013. Conditions were tricky as racers were greeted with drainage issues that created over 20 areas on the track where water was coming up on the racing line. Kelsey however persevered through the weekend and posted his personal best lap time (1:47.923) on Sunday as conditions improved over the weekend.

The third round of the CMRA Sprint Championship Series was also another opportunity for fans and racers to watch the on-going rivalry between Kelsey and fellow Texan Ty Howard. Both racers have really elevated their performance in the first two weekends of the “gentleman’s duel”. Entering the weekend Howard lead the “head to head” by a margin of three races to one. With less than a tenth of a second separating the two riders at TWS in both races, Kelsey was putting in “extra effort” to change the outcome in his favor.

Friday Practice and Team 60 Event

Electing to sit out the early sessions on Friday, the team worked diligently to overcome the trying track surface and posted a 1:51.2. Valuable setup information was gained, and crew chief Marcus McBain made critical geometry and internal suspension changes Friday to prepare for the CMRA’s inaugural “Team 60” race run on Saturday which features two rider teams riding 20-35 minutes each and making pit stops to swap transponders under “dead engine” conditions. The race also featured a Le Mans style start that put a historic wrinkle into what turned out to be a popular format with the CMRA racers.  The team used the event for more setup data and Kelsey was able to turn the fastest lap of the race with a 1:50.6 on lap 3.

Despite the “get data attitude”, Kelsey put his head down and put in some fast laps while battling fellow CMRA veteran Derek Wagnon.  It was a familiar sight in the history of the two fast CMRA veterans with Wagnon jumping out to the lead and Kelsey taking the point as they completed lap two. Wagnon returned to the lead about 9 laps later. As teams entered the pits for the mandatory rider change, Kelsey stayed out for another 3 laps and assumed the lead building a 48 second lead over 2nd place before handing off to teammate Brandt Dillon.

Dillon who was just recovering from a hard get off a few weeks prior and had already withdrawn from his sprint races was going to sit out the race weekend, but was convinced to run the Team 60 event. Dillon rejoined the race and got settled in through tremendous pain. He was able to still hold a 4 second lead as lap 18 completed. On lap 22, Dillon was passed for the lead, but he continued to battle for the lead during his stint, but was unable to finish the race when he ran out of fuel on lap 28.

Despite some positives, Kelsey was very disappointed with the performance of the team’s GSXR-1000 during the Team 60 event as it was extremely harsh and he nearly pulled in. Later inspection by the team found that the eyelet for the shock was actually making contact with the rear linkage during the top out on the stroke. This was being caused by the fact that rear ride height was raised over one inch. Kelsey’s crew chief inspected all components Saturday night/Sunday morning and modified both the rear and front ride height to provide optimal geometry and performance.

Entering Sunday, the team and Kelsey had mixed thoughts. Although practice and Saturday went reasonably well and valuable data was gained, the team also discovered new problems as existing issues were being addressed. With the crew chief finishing up final changes at around 3:00am Sunday morning, the crew chief felt Kelsey would have what he would need to perform for maximum results during the CMRA sprints coming up in just a few hours.

Sunday Sprint Racing

Kelsey started Sunday off with qualifying for the Breast Cancer Research Awareness Formula One race. Danny was quick to get to business and despite using a tire with over 25 laps on it, he was able to set the initial pole time with a 1:49.7. The team was very excited at the obvious initial progress. With one minute to go in qualifying, Kelsey was robbed of the pole position by 0.1 second. It was disappointing for both Kelsey and the team as they were hoping for some validation of the weekend’s work with pole position, but they also realized that you can never count out your competitors and their teams desire to work equally as hard.

With B Superstock as the first opportunity for Kelsey to gain recognition for the team’s sponsors, Danny left nothing on the table as the green flag dropped. He put the Pirelli shod GSXR-750 in the lead early and navigated the constantly improving conditions with a race fastest lap of 1:51.935 on lap 3 en route to a 3.5 second victory. Kelsey was both excited and apprehensive as the team’s aging 750 appeared to be losing the fuel pump and the bike lacked a considerable amount of acceleration. Although he was able to keep the pace up with the performance of the JRi Shock and GP Suspension Cartridges as well as the stopping power of the DP Brakes, the team would replace the fuel pump to address the situation before his next race on the trusted red Suzuki.

As many of the liter bike participants gridded up for A Superstock, Kelsey would have a chance to see if some last minute changes would give him the extra performance he needed for victory. As the starting lights set the field into turn one, Kelsey launched the M4 equipped Suzuki GSXR-1000 off the line and took the lead by the end of lap one running a 1:51.859 from a standing start and posting a 2.1 second lead over Derek Wagnon.  On lap 3, Kelsey posted a race fastest lap time of 1:49.316 to build a 4 second lead. As the checkered flag fell, Kelsey was able posted another big win by 2.904 seconds.

With the Breast Cancer Research Awareness Formula One race just one race after the A Superstock race, the team elected to mount a new rear tire to ensure maximum performance for Kelsey as the hungry and aggressive field provides no quarter for any competitor.  

Kelsey launched the Barnett Clutch equipped and Dynojet tuned GSXR-1000 off the line well and was able to capture the lead on the opening lap with an aggressive pass in turn 3. Although Howard appeared to be off his normal pace, Kelsey wasted no time in taking advantage of the opportunities presented and posted a 1:50.772 opening lap and backed it up with a string of laps in the 1:48 and 1:49 range. By lap 4, Kelsey held a 2.6 second advantage and the stage appeared set for Kelsey to take his first Formula One win of the season.

Howard however was not relenting and began chipping away at Kelsey’s lead. On lap 5, Howard dropped a burner of a lap with a 1:47.857 lap and closed the gap to 1.9 seconds. Kelsey seeing his pit board immediately responded with a fast lap of his own on lap six with a 1:47.923 and increased his lead back to 2.4 seconds. At the checkered flag Kelsey was shown with a 3.516 second victory en route to the team’s third victory of the day.

Kelsey won the premier Formula One race for the first time this year and was ecstatic on the victory podium, “I was really excited about that race, I was sure that Ty (Howard) would be coming after me. He is a great competitor and I know he has more laps at this track than anyone else, but our team has been working so hard to give us this kind of opportunity and it is so rewarding to take this victory.”

With the third victory for Kelsey and the team under their belt, they were beginning to believe that five victories may be possible. At the same time, the team was really concerned as the next race up (B Superbike) would be against some really hungry young riders and team could not be sure that the issue with fuel delivery was solved with the fuel pump replacement. As the race started, Kelsey found himself in a dog fight. Although the Suzuki was working better, it was apparent performance was down from what the team has been used to. Kelsey was able to will the team’s DP Brakes equipped GSXR-750 to the point on lap 3 and posted a race fastest 1:50.605 on lap 5 en route to a 1.712 second victory.

With four victories under his belt, Kelsey realized that to sweep the day he had to complete one more “knock down drag out” race ahead of him. “I knew that our competitors were making some changes to up their pace and that I needed to be ready for a hard battle to not only win A Superbike but to sweep the day”, reflected Danny as he gridded up for A superbike.

As the starting lights got the field off the line, Kelsey was right. Danny emerged in 2nd place out of Turn 2, but quickly moved in behind early leader Howard. Kelsey made the decisive move with a pass in tricky turn eight to take the point on the opening lap and put down a blazing 1:50.628. From that moment on, Kelsey would see leads of “plus zero” on his pit board. This underscored the intense battle going on. On lap 4, the chess match between Kelsey and Howard got turned up a notch as lapped traffic began to emerge. The two Texans battled to stay on the “racing line” while safely lapping first and second year riders.

As the lead shrunk each lap to as little as 0.3 seconds, Kelsey left nothing on the table and made decisive passes in lapped traffic to post his fifth victory of the day and take a 1.578 second victory. Kelsey was very pleased with the day and the lap times posted. Despite the horrible track conditions, he was able to run within 2.3 seconds of the track record even with running water on the track.

“I am really proud of what Danny Accomplished today. We are still a few millimeters off on geometry on our 1000 as well as the fact I need to make one more valving change inside the shock. I believe he could have run another second faster with the setup he is going to get for Hallett. I think we only have one more set of changes needed and our GSXR-1000 will be ready for Danny to take to the AMA Nationals. We have also got to start taking care of our GSXR-750 and spend more time on it. We have just been showing up…running a session or two and then we go racing. The 750 class has some hungry competitors and this is the last race we can probably get by with the neglect of our GSXR-750”, reflected crew chief Marcus McBain.

Danny Kelsey will continue to contest the entire CMRA series in his efforts to regain the number one plate. 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, WRW Racing, Barnett, and Chicken Hawk Racing. Kelsey will resume racing action at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit in May during the fourth round of CMRA Sprint Championship Action.

  • Official CMRA Press Release

  • Official RPSRaceTeam.com Press Release

  • On board video w/Danny Kelsey (Open Superbike Race)

  • Start of the CMRA "Team 60" event

  • Photos by Brandon Bones/Studio 819 & Joseph McBain

  • CMRA Breast Cancer Research Awareness Formula One awards podium

  • RPSRaceTeam.com weekend image collection on Youtube