COLUMBUS, Ohio (August 25, 1999) - Andrew Kelley, who won his first racing championship when he was six years old, is the second driver chosen to participate in Championship Auto Racing Teams' African-American Driver Development Program. The ...
COLUMBUS, Ohio (August 25, 1999) - Andrew Kelley, who won his first racing championship when he was six years old, is the second driver chosen to participate in Championship Auto Racing Teams' African-American Driver Development Program.
The announcement was made by CART Chairman and CEO Andrew Craig and Leonard Miller, president of Miller Racing Group, which is working with CART to identify qualified African-American drivers who will receive a test session in a Toyota Atlantic car.
"We have known Andrew for some time and are pleased that he will be joining our program which helps in the development of the careers of young African-American race car drivers," said Craig. "He exemplifies the type of young man who can race and also effectively represent sponsors, who are so integral to the success of our sport."
Kelley, who has raced in karting and lower-horsepower open-wheel racing series, will receive a test session in a 240-horsepower Toyota Atlantic car later this year with Arciero-Wells Racing, the top team on CART's first level in its development system, the KOOL Toyota Atlantic Championship. Kelley joins Los Angeles' David Francis, Jr., who CART announced as its initial selection in the first-year program earlier this month.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I can't wait to get into a car," said Kelley, who resides in nearby Hilliard with his wife and two children. "Breaking into motorsports is very costly and it's hard to get started. A test with a top team like Arciero-Wells will give me an in-depth evaluation of my talents and abilities that should help me move my career along."
Cal Wells III, co-owner of Arciero-Wells Racing, is enthused about providing a test for Kelley.
"This is a great program and we are pleased to be able to work with CART and the Miller Racing Group to identify qualified drivers like Andrew and then give them access to a test session," said Wells. "We are looking forward to putting Andrew in a Toyota Atlantic car and helping him further evaluate his abilities."
While there are no guarantees beyond the test session, Miller believes Kelley has the ability to become a top-notch racer.
"Andrew is a talented driver, one that has exhibited the kind of skills that we are looking for in drivers we bring to this program," said Miller. "It's fantastic to be able to announce him as the second driver who will participate in the CART African-American driver development program."
The 26-year-old Kelley started racing in 1977 in 25cc Midget Karting. In 1979, he won all 13 races in the series en route to the championship. He progressed through the karting ranks over the next 10 seasons, winning five more championships. He moved into the Formula Mazda series in 1991 and ran there through 1996. In that span, he became the first African-American to win a Formula Mazda race and he recorded four more victories while collecting eight additional top-five finishes.
Kelley is a 1994 graduate of Ohio State University's business management program and attended Westerville (Ohio) North High School. Among his interests is an Inner City Kids Program for Motorsports, which he created.
"My goal is to become a successful race car driver and, along the way, show kids that you can establish goals and reach them through hard work," said Kelley. "Inner city kids need to know that racing offers a viable career opportunity for them. Not everyone can be a driver but there are many jobs within a team, like engineering, business or marketing."