Veteran small-tire class racer-turned-no prep competitor Kenjo Kelley scored one of, if not the biggest victory of his driving career on Friday afternoon when he claimed the special 8-car Redemption exhibition at the NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway near Houston, Texas.
Kelley, a native Texan who for years competed in the NMRA’s Super Street Outlaw category before switching his sights to the growing world of no prep racing, has become one of the genre’s certifiable frontrunners in the small tire game, and it was largely that fact that earned him a coveted spot in the unique, first-of-its-kind event.
Kelley, in his turbocharged SN95 Mustang, drew James Kay in the opening stanza on Friday morning, and after ousting his “Mean Green” Camaro, paired up with Sergio “Flaco” Gonalez in round two. Flaco, a no prep heavy-hitter in his “Cornfed” Chevrolet S-10, had troubles early in the run, allowing Kenjo to streak to the line and punch his ticket into the finale.
In the money round, in front of throngs of NHRA faithful, Kenjo ousted fellow Texan Ryan Hall in his gorgeous “Roxxie” nitrous-fed Camaro, as Hall struck the tires immediately and could only watch the “Army Car 2.0” sail down the 660-foot strip to the title.