In what will be his third consecutive attempt in the event, Marcus Kelly is currently preparing to make the long trek to America where he will fly the flag for Australia in the 33rd annual Tulsa Shootout for Micro 600s (Formula 500s).
Off the back of a satisfying 2016 Tulsa Shootoutcampaign, Kelly is now feeling confident that his goal of qualifying into the A feature at what is considered the single largest event for Micros is close to being made a realty.Last year saw Kelly start the Outlaw (640cc class) Bmain from position eight, going on to finish third and narrowly missing out on a transfer spot into the A feature by one position to Californian Jake Hagopian.
“I’m really pleased with the progress we made last year, but missing out on the A feature transfer by one position was a tough pill to swallow,” admitted Kelly.
“The Tulsa Shootout is an extremely tough event. In Australia, you might face 20 top-class drivers in an Australian Title field of around 50 to 60 cars, but at Tulsa, you’re up against 300 top drivers in each class.
“The technical side of it is much different too, with Australia having driver licenses, scrutineers and many rules and regulations, while at Tulsa, there are no licenses, no scrutineers and the rules fit on one page.It’s the purest type of racing I’ve ever experienced. It’s raw and it’s something that you need to do to fully appreciate it.”
Kelly is looking forward to seeing what he can achieve aboard the # 47K Maxwill Industries-backed CS9 cars. His 2017 Tulsa Shootout campaign will also be bolstered by the addition of his regular Australian crew chief Craig Munday, who will be joining him in America for the first time.
“Anything that I’ve won here in Australia, it’s been when Craig is there helping me out, so suffice to say I’m very pleased that he’s going to be joining me for the Tulsa Shootout this year,” enthused the Shearwater, Tasmania-based racer.
“I’m feeling good heading into the event off the back of last year’s result and I’m focused on performing well throughout qualifying to give myself the best chance of making it into the A feature, as well as having as much fun as possible in the process.”
Leaving for America on Boxing Day (December 26) and arriving the same day, due to the time difference, Kelly hasn’t been able to complete a shakedown run in Australia prior to his Tulsa Shootout assault as he has done in previous years, so he will be hoping to hit the ground running when he arrives at the Tulsa Expo Raceway in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Tulsa Shootout spans from December 27 to December 31 and consists of the driver check-in on day one, morning practice and evening races on day two, and a full racing schedule on the following three days.