Before last year, Top Fuel pilot Kebin Kinsley was an unknown driver to most NHRA fans.
That changed last season at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. At NHRA’s premier race, Kinsley qualified No. 16 and then shocked the drag racing world by reaching the final round before his Cinderella run ended with a loss to Steve Torrence.
“The crowd was so pumped, I guess to have some new blood in there,” Kinsley said about his memorable Indy run. “The fans were amazing there and then my phone blew up, and so did my email, and my Facebook. It was cool to get the attention we got because that’s the biggest race of the year. I was blessed just to qualify because the last time we were there with the Gas Monkey dragster we didn’t make the show at No. 17. We felt like we won by just qualifying and then we started going rounds, and it was incredible. That was a chance of a lifetime to be able to go do it and then to go rounds was incredible. I remember watching the U.S. Nationals on the Wide World of Sports as a little kid. I’ve been blessed to surround myself with good people.”
Now, Kinsley is back to hopefully make more headlines as he makes his 2018 debut driving the Roger Hennen Motorsports Top Fuel Dragster team at the Arizona Nationals Feb. 23-35 at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix. Road Rage Fuel Booster will be the team’s primary sponsor. This will be Kinsley’s inaugural appearance competing at Phoenix in a drag race.
“This is a very demanding class, but we are all having a good time and enjoying it,” Kinsley said. “Indy was an uplift for everybody and gave us a good shot in the arm. It makes you feel like this is why you go do this, the little guy has a shot once and a while. Our car is running stellar and all my guys have done a superb job on my car. With our new crew additions with Donnie Bender and David Kirkland (last year), that has really turned our program around. Then Roger spent the money to have good parts in the trailer. Everybody is uplifted and ready to go stand on the gas. I know I am.”
In addition to Phoenix, Kinsley said his team plans on racing at Houston (April 20-22), Chicago (May 31-June 3), Dallas (Oct. 4-7) and it possibly will go back to the U.S. Nationals (Aug. 29-Sept. 3).
“We are starting a little bit earlier to get in the groove before we go to Houston,” said Kinsley, whose team is based in Denton. “We stepped up and got some better cylinder heads like everybody else is running, so we are hoping the car will step up a couple of ticks and we can be a contender. We are all stoked to see what can do in Phoenix.”
A year ago, Kinsley ran a limited schedule and finished 20th in the point standings.