As Sovereign/Star Racing’s championship contender Michael Ray continues to compete for the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Motorcycle title, he will be joined by 19-year-old rookie teammate Chaz Kennedy this weekend at the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading.
Kennedy, a Sovereign/Star Racing crewmember and developmental driver for 2013, has been training with the team with the intention of making his NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle debut aboard the team’s Suzuki during the last few races of the season. After receiving the sudden news that former Sovereign/Star Racing driver Scotty Pollacheck would be leaving the team to compete as an individual for the remainder of the Countdown, George Bryce decided to continue their two-motorcycle program with Kennedy piloting the S&S Cycle-powered Buell left empty by Pollacheck’s resignation.
“I’m excited to see Chaz run because I’ve helped him for two years to learn how to do it, and this will be his first time on this ‘rocket ship.’ It will be good to see how well his focus is with all the surroundings. It’s going to be intimidating [for him] to say the least. The only thing that will seem normal to him will be the inside of his helmet. But, as long as I’ve been working with him, he’s been a quick study and quick learner. I’ve been impressed with how fast he adapts,” Bryce said.
During Star Racing’s nearly 30 years in NHRA national competition, Bryce has introduced six other rookie Pro Stock Motorcycle racers into the class, including three-time champions John Myers and Angelle Sampey.
“I’m just excited for the opportunity, and my dreams are finally coming true,” said Kennedy. “It’s a great opportunity to race with the best since I’ve always wanted to race in Pro Stock Motorcycle. I was surprised to find out that I was driving the Buell. The original plan was to go out and race the Suzuki at Vegas and Pomona. We’ve been training all year on the Suzuki, so this will really mix it up. But we’re gonna go out and just have fun.”
Kennedy, who has been racing since age 5, has claimed three American Motorcycle Racing Association (AMRA) championships. He was also named AMRA Rookie of the Year, AMRA Racer of the Year, and All Harley Drag Racing Association Rookie of the Year. This weekend’s Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals will be his first time competing at an NHRA national event.
Kennedy’s father, Chuck Kennedy, has also been a member of the Sovereign/Star Racing team for the past two seasons as the crew chief for the Buell motorcycle formerly driven by Pollacheck.