A long fifteen weekends of racing in virtually every corner on the country and all points in between came to an exciting culmination last weekend at the famed Texas Motorplex near Dallas, as the Street Outlaws No Prep Kings crowned its individual and first-ever team champions in a thrilling season finale.
Kye Kelley secured his long-awaited first Street Outlaws No Prep Kings season six individual championship. After six years of trying and multiple runner-up finishes to Ryan Martin, Kelley’s moment came as he was officially crowned on Friday evening.
Despite an early exit in the opening round of eliminations in the Great 8, Kelley had already accumulated enough points based on his stellar performance at the Steele, Alabama race the previous month to earn the championship. Kelley front-loaded his championship chase with his re-bodied Buick Regal sporting a Noonan supercharged engine, with three wins in six final round appearances, building a commanding lead.
As the season progressed, Kelley’s lead began to diminish, with strong performances from competitors, particularly Ryan Martin, who faced a career-worst start and played catch-up. However, Kelley’s final round appearance in Alabama’s Great 8 opposite Martin secured the points needed for the championship. Martin, who won the Great 8 in Ennis, could only mathematically close to within five points of the title.
Kelley’s impressive 17-10 round record, including six wins in seven final rounds, solidified his championship. Despite Martin’s three wins equaling Kelley’s, it was the numerous round wins and final round appearances that made the decisive difference. Kelley finished with the third-most points in the invitational overall, trailing only Damon Merchant and Nate Sayler.
While Martin fell short in the individual championship, he and his team showcased their power in the $200,000-to-win team championship. With double points at stake, Martin’s team, featuring Sayler, Giuseppe Gentile, Robin Roberts, and Rich Bruder, overtook the season-long leading squad led by Kelley. The team effort, with Roberts and Bruder advancing to the semifinals and Sayler to the quarterfinals, secured the team championship.
In the Ennis invitational, Justin Swanstrom triumphed, marking a turnaround from what had been a challenging season. Swanstrom’s victory over Clay Cole in the money round capped off the event, with Swanstrom finishing tied for the 10th-most points overall in the invitational. Ryan Martin clinched the season’s final Great 8, drawing Sayler and Lizzy Musi in earlier rounds, while final round opponent Damon Merchant advanced past Kelley and Merchant in a dramatic conclusion to the season.