For Immediate Release
May 31, 2000
READING, PA -- Rocky Road Racing Team of Donald, Matthew, and Keith Kennedy will debut its 1996 Subaru Impreza at the Susquehannock Trail ProRally (www.stpr.org) this weekend, June 3-4, 2000. The event, commonly referred to as STPR for short, is held in the state forests near the north-central Pennsylvania town of Wellsboro, approximately 1 hour north of Williamsport.
A rally is a flat out race among teams driving production-based cars, and is usually held on forest and logging roads. Each team consists of a driver and a navigator, who instructs the driver on what roads or "route" to follow. Although events use some of the same roads year after year, the exact route is kept secret until just before the start of each event. Teams are sent out on closed-road "stages" at one minute intervals, and race against the clock rather than head to head. The team that completes the stages with the lowest accumulated time is declared the winner. Events are held all over the country, running during the day and night, in any kind of weather condition imaginable, and can last up to fourteen hours.
There are several classes of cars, ranging from Open class cars with 300HP+ turbo-charged engines, 4WD, traction control, and very sparse interiors; to the Production class cars that race with all the interior and equipment as it arrives from the showroom, including the CD player and AC! All cars are equipped with roll cages, 5-point racing harnesses, and fire extinguishers; and all competitors are required to wear helmets and fire-resistant racing suits.
Rocky Road Racing Team has prepared a 1996 Subaru Impreza to race in the SCCA ProRally Production GT class (www.scca.org/amateur/performance_rally/index.html). In addition to the above mentioned roll cage and racing harnesses, the car has also been equipped with front and rear skid plates to protect the drive train and underside of the engine. Outside of the replacement of the stock struts and springs with DMS (Drummond Motor Sports) 50mm struts specially designed and built for the demands of rally racing and the use of Michelin Rally Tires, all other parts are fully stock! Subaru's reliability and dependability combined with its 4WD capabilities make it the perfect choice for the rigors of racing down rough roads at speeds sometimes greater than those experienced on the highway.
Steve Moyer Subaru (www.stevemoyersubaru.com), located in Reading, PA, is the primary sponsor of the Rocky Road Racing's rally effort. The full service Subaru dealership provides technical information and advice, as well as assistance with parts for the car. KAM Specialties, also located in Reading, PA, is an associate sponsor who helps with the safety and rally equipment, but also carries a full line of high performance parts and accessories for the road.
Rocky Road Racing is a family affair. Its main members are Driver/Owner Donald Kennedy, and his two sons Matthew and Keith Kennedy. While Don drives the car, his sons take turns between being navigator and crew chief, with Keith navigating and Matt crew chiefing for the 2000 rally season. The team also competes in other non-rally events, such as hill-climbs, TSD rallies, and rally-crosses.
Although this is Don's first year as a ProRally driver, he is no stranger to the sport, or racing in general. He began hill-climbing Triumphs in the 1960's, but took a break to start a family. At that point he became involved on the worker side of things, helping at many of the hill-climbs he had previously competed in. In the 1980's he answered the call that many rallyists in the northeast get, STPR. Don was a stage captain for nearly 10 years, in charge of setting up and organizing workers for several of the rally's stages. Through these efforts he got to know many of the roads better than some of the competitors. In the early 1990's Don began navigating for Dean Fry, competing throughout the northeast in a variety of specially prepared Subarus. This partnership resulted in many successful finishes, including the 1996 NEDIV Drivers' and Navigators' Championship for Dean and Don respectively.
Matt and Keith are just beginning their professional racing careers, though neither are strangers to competition itself. Having grown up in and around hill-climbs and rallies, racing became a large part of what they did as individuals and as a family. In addition to having serviced for many rally teams over the years, both Matt and Keith have competed very successfully in TSD rallies in the northeast, with each other and with their father. Last fall they faced each other for the first time in competition, with Matt edging out his younger brother Keith in the Covered Bridge Rally-Cross. Both are looking forward to a rematch, this time in the new rally car, when they compete in the Pagoda Hillclimb in Reading, PA, June 24-25.
Although the team hasn't had much time to get comfortable with the new car, they feel confident heading into the event this weekend. The lack of seat time in the new car doesn't bother Don, who feels that his "almost 20 years of experience on these Pennsylvania forest roads give me a bit of an advantage over other novice drivers, since I know what to expect out there." And even though this is only his 2nd time navigating in a performance rally, Keith feels up to the challenge of racing for almost 14 hours. "I've navigated brisk TSD rallies that had me doing constant odometer corrections and speed changes, and I must say that navigating a performance rally is actually more straight-forward." As for crew chief Matt, "I've been servicing for almost ten years, fixing in 20 minutes whatever they bend or break (something that doesn't happen very often with Subarus). And since we're simply moving from a Subaru Legacy to a Subaru Impreza it'll be pretty much old hat for me."
Come and see us this weekend at the Susquehannock Trail Pro Rally, which begins Saturday at 10:00 AM with Park Expose in downtown Wellsboro. There you can meet the teams and see their cars, as well as obtain spectator guides and other rally information. Or, you can watch for the event on Speedvision, airing Friday, June 23 at 10:00 PM and Saturday, June 24 at 2:00 AM. Also look for the upcoming Rocky Road Racing website.
Matt Kennedy, Crew Chief
Rocky Road Racing