Auto Racing: Q-and-A with driver Pat Kelly
July 3, 2012 10:00PM
Pat Kelly | Kim Kemperman~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 5, 2012 6:31AM
Kelly, 43, of Coal City, is in his 19th season of stock car racing at Illiana and Grundy County speedways. He was the 2000 late-model champ at both Illiana and Grundy, and repeated at Illiana in 2005 and Grundy in 2006. He is the points leader at Grundy, while his son, Nathan, is the points leader at Grundy in the street stock division.
Who was your early influence in racing?
I didn’t really have an influence. We were just looking for a hobby to do and started racing enduros. Eddie Hoffman helped me out quite a bit when I got started.
Winning titles at two tracks in the same season, especially in the same car, is amazing. How did you do it in 2000?
I got a deal with John Brolick and his whole team. I came into a good situation with a good car. And we were really good. I came from a good Mid-American car into a great late-model.
How did you get the car ready from one night to the next?
John Brolick’s crew, they always had the car prepared for Illiana before we left Grundy that night. All we’d have to do at Illiana was unload in and race.
People used to complain all the time that you cheated by using traction control. Did that bother you?
(Smiling) Nah. Everybody talks about Eddie (Hoffman) has traction control. If they aren’t complaining about you or making comments, you aren’t doing a very good job.
You’re in a four-car trophy dash with three NASCAR drivers. Who would you want them to be?
Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Jimmy Johnson.
What about the legends? Which legends did you like?
Oh, I was a big Dale Earnhardt fan. And I liked Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip. Watching those guys on Sunday was real neat.
What area driver today do you have the most respect for?
I’d have to say Eddie Hoffman. Eddie has been around a long time. You watch him race and people give him a hard time. But I don’t have a problem racing with him. He’s a good time to race with.”
As told to Tony Baranek