by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter

Images via Jason Swoboda

Gravel Trap Motorsports’ Dan Kelly traded in the driver’s seat in rallycross for the silly seat in stage rally this October after joining Zack Rondeau for both Show-Me Rally and Lake Superior Performance Rally. The duo took a Group 2 class podium in the former and earned the Spirit of the Rally Award in the latter for their press on regardless mentality. We got to know Zack yesterday—now it’s Dan’s turn to open up:

What made you want to start rallying?

I guess I'd say it started back in high school, playing the absolute crap out of Rallisport Challenge and ripping around Alaskan backroads in my beater Neon. But it wasn't until many years later, and a move to Wisconsin, that I found a local rallycross group called WAG and actually started to get involved with the sport.

Rallycross quickly turned into stage rally adventures when the man behind WAG, Dave Parps, offered me and Arin Demaster a floor to crash on at Nemadji Trails 2010. Beyond just the sheer awesomeness of cars flying through the woods, I fell in love with the press on regardless spirit and camaraderie. Even just spectating is an adventure! 

When was your first event and how did you do?

Show-Me 2018 was actually my first time competing in stage rally. We finished third in Group 2 and 12th overall!

When was your first really memorable result—win or podium—and how did you get there?

I'd have to say it was a little WAG rallycross way back in the day. I used to rallycross whatever I had running, none of it being remotely competitive, but this one event I happened to have a $400 Toyota MR2 that I had just resurrected. I took first in class that day, my first podium ever, and figured out that driving is fun but winning is more fun!

Do you prefer to work with a single driver or multiple drivers?

I'll work with any driver as long as we have good chemistry and he isn't afraid to send it.

What’s your favorite event on the Rally America schedule?

LSPR hands down. Awesome roads, beautiful scenery, and all the mosquitos are in hell.

Do you have any pre-event routines?

Not sure yet but it'll definitely involve coffee.

Which other co-drivers in the sport do you respect the most?

This is a really tough one but Dustin Masters is definitely high up on that list. He's just a great guy, super friendly, and always has these amazing stories and personal insights to share. Plus he co-drove for Steve Brockelman in his badass S10!