August 13, 2018-Springfield, IL
By Jay Hardin Track Enterprises Staff
“He’s back”! That simple phrase would be selling short the story of Springfield, Illinois race driver Kelly Kovski. Kovski’s racing career, put on hold last February due to injuries from an accident, has re-started and according to the Automobile Racing Club of America today, the Springfield pilot will return to the ARCA series this Sunday in the Allen Crowe 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Kovski is a man with two victories on the Springfield mile as part of a crew and he will be undoubtedly one of the most popular drivers in the field.
Kelly Kovski’s career in auto racing has been both as a driver and a crew member/crew chief. He’s been the crew chief for Mike Allgaier’s ARCA racing team for over a decade helping Mike’s son Justin to a wildly popular victory in the 2006 Allen Crowe 100 at Springfield. Kovski put ARCA champion Grant Enfinger behind the wheel of his own Allgaier ARCA car last year and all Enfinger did was start second and score another popular victory in the Allen Crowe 100 for the home town team.
As a driver, Kovski’s driven modifieds and stock cars at several local short tracks in central Illinois for well over ten seasons. He made his first ARCA start on the dirt at Springfield in August of 2005 and finished a respectable 14th completing all 100 miles. The next year he finished 11th behind teammate Allgaier. Since 2006 he has 7 top 10 finishes on his home fairground race track with the best a third in 2015. In 12 starts he’s only failed to finish one race and completed an impressive 1214 out of a possible 1226 miles in that span.
Perhaps most impressive have been his drives from the back of the field. In 2007 he started 29th and finished 6th. When rain forced the field to be set by points in 2014 he drove from 27th to 6th at the end, and when rain came back in 2015 he went from 30th to the career best 3rd on the Springfield mile.
Kovski’s streak of 12 consecutive starts in the Allen Crowe 100 came to a sudden halt February of 2017, when he was struck in the pits of a Florida short track by a flipping sprint car. Serious injuries forced him to remain in a Florida hospital until he was able to be transported closer to home. Driving a race car was out of the question but by summer’s end Kovski was well enough to return to the Allgaier race shop and joined Enfinger in an emotional celebration in victory lane last year. Simply returning to run in the Illinois State Fair stock car race for the partisan crowd is a significant step, Kovski winning the Crowe 100 as a driver could set off a celebration that would top Allgaier’s in 2006!
ARCA practice begins at 9:00, ARCA qualifying at 11:00, Sportsman feature at 12:00 noon, an ARCA autograph session at 12:15, and the Allen Crowe Memorial 100 will take the green at 1:35. It’s all part of the State Fair race weekend which will have the USAC Silver Crown Series on Saturday afternoon as well as racing at Lincoln Speedway on Friday night and Macon Speedway on Saturday evening.