KINSLEY RETURNS TO DRAG BOATS IN RECORD FASHION
Part-time NHRA Top Fuel racer Kebin Kinsley could hardly contain the excitement on the tow back following a final round in Grove, Oklahoma. As soon as the cockpit to his CatSpot/Magic Dry-sponsored race vehicle opened, the words came rushing out like those of a hurricane attacking land.
“That was the most insane thing I’ve ever done in my life," Kinsley exclaimed. "Totally out of control.”
Kinsley was not behind the wheel of his 300-mph hour land-based rocket, but rather piloting a Top Fuel hydro for the first time in five years.
Kinsley piloted the Tommy Thompson/Scott Palmer owned “Liquid Voodoo” to assist in identifying and correcting a handling issue which had been plaguing the team for over a year. His extensive experience as a Top Fuel Hydro driver, fabricator and race car/race boat builder enabled the team to diagnose the cause of these issues quickly.
Early on Kinsley described those runs as the equivalent of driving on marbles. With each run came Kinsley's expertise and adjustments through crew chief Todd Haas.
As Haas adjusted, Kinsley kept winning and the team reached the final round where the objective became to make it from start to finish under full power.
The final was no walk in the park as Kinsley and opponent Lee Warren left the line within .004 of second of one another. Kinsley made his first full pull, stopping the timers in 3.385 seconds at 267.38 miles per hour. Not only did Kinsley win, but also scored the second quickest pass in Top Fuel Hydro history.
For his part, Warren also laid down his career-best numbers of 3.64 seconds at 238.23 miles per hour.
“This weekend really opened my eyes to how things have progressed in the Top Fuel drag boat world," admitted Kinsley. “All the way down the track was amazing, but from about quarter track on it was incredibly insane. I had to do some stuff driving to make sure the boat was going to go A to B, and it worked. This thing felt like it was going 400 miles per hour. It was shaking but it wasn’t out of control, just you knew it was hauling.
“We still need to massage on the boat to make it go straight down the track. It’s better but it’s not perfect yet. I was really proud to be out there and be a part of it, especially that Scott and Tommy asked me to come drive it again. I will never forget that for the rest of my life. 240 miles per hour at half track was incredible. I only went 236 in a quarter mile in a Top Fuel boat before this pass. To go 240 at half track and 267 out the back door was insane fast. Lee Warren and his team had an incredible weekend too. That final was just a good old fashioned drag race.”
Kinsley is the quickest and fastest drag racer to compete on both land and water, with his NHRA (land) career-best elapsed time of 3.757 seconds and speed of 322.96 miles per hour, and SDBA career-best elapsed time of 3.385 seconds and speed of 267.38 miles per hour. He is one of only three Top Fuel Hydro drivers to run in the 3.30’s, and also becomes one of only five TFH drivers to run in excess of 260 miles per hour.
At the end of the day, it was Haas who felt very justified in showering praise on Kinsley.
“Nobody could have driven this boat the way it was set up,” Haas said. “The information we got from Kebin after each lap helped us to make the right changes. I laid in bed for hours thinking, ‘marbles, marbles, marbles?"
"And to have all those changes come together and work for the final, this is by far my favorite, most memorable lap I’ll ever have. It was unbelievable. The computer supports everything that it did. It pulled 4.8 G’s on that lap. It had 62.8 pounds of blower boost going across the finish line, and 74.5 gallons of fuel. It was just a beast.
"Kebin and I have been friends for 30 years. He used to help me tune my Top Alcohol Flatbottom back in the day, and I just got to tune his quickest and fastest lap in a Top Fuel Hydro. That means everything to me.”
Kinsley will return to the asphalt in the Hennen Motorsports Road Rage Top Fuel Dragster at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis over Labor Day weekend. Until then, he will race at the next Southern Drag Boat Association event, the Mid-America Summer Nationals, August 4-5, in Chouteau, Ok.