In what we could envision becoming an annual New Year’s tradition giving the crowds on hand and the racer participation, the Texas Raceway in Kennedale hosted its no-prep Redemption 4.0 race on Saturday that was rescheduled from its earlier date in late November to a completely packed house. With some of the top names in the grudge and no-prep world on hand, including Kye Kelley, Chris “BoostedGT” Hamilton, Scott “John Doe” Taylor, David “Bird” Jones, James “Birdman” Finney, and a whole host of others, along with Street Outlaws stars James “Doc” Love and Jerry “Monza” Johnston signing autographs, it was all but a given that folks from all over the south would brave the cold to converge on the Texas Raceway for some drag racing to start 2016 off right.
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The Outlaw class, where the big-tire runners with everything from back-halved street cars to full tube chassis race cars with anything-goes power plants compete, was the headliner of the event, with $15,000 on the line for the winner. Throughout much of eliminations, it appeared that Kelley, the two-time winner of Street Outlaws’ Cash Days race and the central figure in the upcoming Street Outlaws New Orleans show on Discovery, was the man to beat. But with temperatures in the 40s, a dicey racing surface, and a whole lot of great cars and drivers in the field, nothing was guaranteed.
In the end, Kelley and his “Shocker” Camaro were denied the victory by Houston-area runner Finney, considered one of the top grudge racers in the south. Finney and his crew had only in the handful of weeks prior to the race switched from their familiar third-gen Camaro over to a lightweight new Pro Stock-style fourth-gen Firebird with their twin-turbo engine combination under the hood; and it proved to be a winning formula, as Finney drove away from Kelley to take the crown under the lights on Saturday evening.
Video credit: Corey Smiley
With some mighty big no-prep events on the calendar this season, including the $50,000-to-win race in San Antonio in March, we’ll surely be seeing more of Finney, Kelley, and a whole pile of other grudge, no-prep, and street racers that will be coming out of the woodwork for the cash.