Heads Up as Scott Kelley Drag Races an xB
BY Scion CM
An xB probably isn't the first car you'd consider when building a drag car – but Scott Kelley was up for the challenge and he's been leaving competitors in the dust with the "Scion Bullet". A racing veteran, Scott's been racing professionally for over a decade and has multiple National Championships to back it up. He and his dad, Larry, form Kelly Racing and together have built a successful drag racing program alongside Scion Racing.
Scott has a history of racing in less-than-conventional cars. First interested in muscle cars, Scott drove a Dodge Dart during high school. But his racing career began when he got left in the dust by a VW on the street one day. Realizing how much potential the VW had, Scott went out and got a 1969 VW Fastback. His dad had once been very involved in dragracing VWs during the late 60s and early 70s – that is until a crash had Mom saying "no more racing." Excited about the opportunity to get into racing again, and because racing belongs on the drag strip, Larry encouraged Scott to build his VW for the dragstrip rather than the street – the two embarked on building it together.
And as they say, the rest is history. Scott and his dad, Larry, have been working and racing together ever since. Landing his first sponsorship in '99 helped Scott gain his first National Title. From there he entered his VW into the newly formed Sport Compact series, winning another National Championship in 2001. TRD approached Scott and convinced him to begin racing with them, so in 2004 Kelly Racing built up a Toyota Corolla on a full custom tube chassis. They did well racing that until 2009, when Scion approached Scott to race in an xB.
With more curves than its predecessor, the Gen 2 xB ended up being surprisingly aerodynamic. Another benefit was its wheelbase matched the dimensions of the Corollas – so rather than building an entirely different racecar, the old one was given new changes along with an xB body. During the build, Scott and Larry changed up some of the suspension mounting points and components, making the FWD a stronger racing platform. Scott says the FWD is actually easier to run than a more traditional RWD and has proven to be a better platform for him.
When Scott showed up with the Scion Bullet during the 2010 season opener in Las Vegas, he was surprised by fans overwhelming response – they loved it! Not only did Kelly Racing win the Best Engineered prize that weekend, they went home as a crowd favorite. The xB was both a car completely unique to see at the drag strip, but it was also fully relatable as people easily recognized it from the street.
Scott says his favorite part of racing is competition, "You've just got to figure out how to beat the guy next to you." Kelley Racing has been doing just that both in and out of the garage!
You can find the Bullet xB racing in the Super Stock class of NHRA & PSCA, as well as the All Motor (Pro Stock) class in other Import races. If you'd like to catch Scott Kelley and the Scion Bullet, check out his latest schedule below, visit his Facebook page, or get live race updates from @Scion_Bullet on Twitter.