Paul Kelley was looking for his fourth World Crown 300 victory Sunday at Gresham Motorsports Park. How he found it proved to be a bit of a surprise to the Pendagrass, GA driver.
“Heck yeah, I was really surprised when those guys got disqualified,” said Kelley after finishing third in the 26th-annual event only to find out later he was the winner when first- and second-place finishers Jeff Choquette and Max Gresham failed post-race technical inspection. “I was just happy to finish third. I never expected that the top two finishers would get thrown out. When that happened, I got really nervous because I knew they were checking the cars really tight. I was pretty certain that we would pass tech, but you never know when they are checking as tight as they were Sunday.”
Kelley was on stun during the 300-lap test on the all-new Gresham Motorsports Park oval Sunday. The winner of the World Crown 300 in 2001, 2006 and 2007, Kelley’s weekend started off slowly but ended with a bang.
“We had an interesting weekend,” said Kelley. “The track was totally different than when we tested here. We made some changes before qualifying and the track changed again, so we wound up 18th at the start.
Fortunately, we were able to work on the car again and got it right for the race. My crew did an amazing job. It was great to drive though the field. I liked the old track a lot, but this place is awesome now. I could drive my car anywhere I wanted to.”
Kelley wheeled his way from the middle of the 38-car field to contend for the win in the late stages of Sunday’s 300. The 29-year-old driver got as high as second in the running order before apparently settling for third at the checkered flag. It was only after post-race inspection and the awarding of the victory that Kelley could fathom the magnitude of his accomplishment.
“It’s almost unreal to be a four-time champion of the World Crown 300,” stated Kelley. “Just winning this race once would be saying a lot. To be on the same list as guys like Darrell Waltrip, Dick Trickle and a lot of other great racers is really special. To be a four-time winner is beyond belief.”
courtesy of Gresham Motorsports Park
Paul Kelley Wins
2009 WORLD CROWN300
4 time WORLD CROWN Champion
Here are a few laps of Paul's incar camera at the start of the World Crown 300.