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J. MICHAEL KELLY

J. Michael Kelly, winner of the 2023 APBA Gold Cup and 2023 National Championship, will once again pilot the U-8 for the Strong Racing team in 2024, paired again with his long-time best friend Corey Peabody, who will drive the U-9. Kelly holds 23 World Records in various classes, has won 14 National Championships, is an 10-time APBA Hall of Champions inductee, a 16-time H1 Unlimited race winner, and is a two-time APBA Gold Cup winner.

He is known as one of the most consistent starters on the circuit, an advantage for the team. Many have compared his starts to the late-great driver, Bill Muncey.

Kelly scored his first H1 Unlimited hydroplane win at the 2009 inaugural U.I.M. World Championship Oryx Cup in Doha, Qatar. With two race wins in 2021  (Guntersville and San Diego), Kelly picked up his first Driver’s High Points Championship. Kelly’s goal is to repeat that feat, as well as winning the U-1 hull number, something he has not yet been able to accomplish.

His 21-year career makes him one of the most seasoned drivers on the circuit.

Kelly’s hydroplane for 2024 is the former Ellstrom U-16/96 hull that was new in 2014. The hull was purchased by Darell and Vanessa Strong in the 2020 off-season. Paired with the U-9 Jones Racing hull, the Strong Racing team is poised to add to the win total again in the 2024 season.

When not racing, or watching his children race, Kelly is a lead carpenter in the Pacific Northwest.  A graduate of Kent Meridian High School in Kent, WA, Kelly lives in Bonney Lake, WA, with his wife Angela and sons Brennen, Carson, and Asher.

  • Began racing outboard hydroplanes at 9 years of age
  • Grade school classmate of teammate Corey Peabody, driver of the U-9
  • 2004 H1 Unlimited Rookie of the Year
  • First win was 2009 at the UIM World Championship in Doha, Qatar
  • Won his first H1 National High Points Driver Championship in 2021
  • Has 16 career wins, including the 2016 & 2023 Gold Cups.  Kelly’s 16 wins put him 10th on the all-time win list, tied with 3 other drivers
  • Inducted into the APBA Hall of Champions in 2023 for the 10th time in his career.  
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Gold Cups
ALL H1 UNLIMITED RESULTS
YEAR EVENT NAME FINISH U# BOAT NAME OWNER
2023 APBA Gold Cup 1st U-8 Beacon Electric Strong Racing
2023 Columbia Cup 3rd U-8 Beacon Electric Strong Racing
2023 Madison Regatta 1st U-8 Beacon Electric Strong Racing
2023 Guntersville Hydrofest 4th U-8 Beacon Electric Strong Racing
2023 Pre-Season Testing TEST U-8 Beacon Electric Strong Racing
2022 HomeStreet Bank Bayfair 2nd U-9 Miss Tri-Cities Strong Racing
2022 HomeStreet Bank Cup 1st U-9 Boitano Homes Strong Racing
2022 HAPO Columbia Cup 2nd U-9 LYNX Healthcare Presents Miss Tri-Cities Strong Racing
2022 Madison Regatta 4th U-8 Miss Tri-Cities Strong Racing
2022 APBA Gold Cup 4th U-8 Miss Tri-Cities Strong Racing
2021 San Diego Bayfair 1st U-8 Payne West Insurance presents Miss Tri-Cities Strong Racing
2021 HAPO Columbia Cup 2nd U-8 Payne West Insurance presents Miss Tri-Cities Strong Racing
2021 Madison Regatta APBA Gold Cup 6th U-8 Miss Tri-Cities Strong Racing
2021 Guntersville Lake Hydrofest 1st U-8 Miss Tri-Cities Strong Racing
2021 Pre-Season Testing TEST U-8 Miss Tri-Cities Strong Racing
2019 HomeStreet Bank Bayfair 1st U-12 Graham Trucking Rob Graham
2019 HomeStreet Bank Cup 1st U-12 Graham Trucking Rob Graham
2019 HAPO Columbia Cup 1st U-12 Graham Trucking Rob Graham
2019 Madison Regatta APBA Gold Cup 3rd U-12 Graham Trucking Rob Graham
2019 Guntersville Lake Hydrofest 2nd U-12 Graham Trucking Graham Trucking
2019 Pre-Season Testing TEST U-12 Graham Trucking (5) Graham Trucking
2018 Albert Lee Appliance Cup 2nd U-12 Graham Trucking (5) Graham Trucking
2018 HAPO Columbia Cup 3rd U-12 Graham Trucking (5) Graham Trucking
2017 HomeStreet Bank Bayfair 2nd U-12 Graham Trucking (5) Graham Trucking
2017 APBA Gold Cup 4th U-12 Graham Trucking (5) Graham Trucking
2017 President’s Cup 2nd U-12 Graham Trucking (5) Graham Trucking
2017 Albert Lee Appliance Seafair Cup 2nd U-12 Graham Trucking (5) Graham Trucking
2017 HAPO Columbia Cup 1st U-12 Graham Trucking (5) Graham Trucking
2016 HomeStreet Bank San Diego Bayfair 3rd U-5 Graham Trucking (5) Team Porter Racing
2016 UAW/GM Hydrofest APBA Gold Cup 1st U-5 Graham Trucking (5) Team Porter Racing
2016 Albert Lee Appliance Seafair Cup 5th U-5 Graham Trucking (5) Team Porter Racing
2016 HAPO Columbia Cup 2nd U-5 Graham Trucking (5) Team Porter Racing
2016 MainSource Bank Madison Regatta 2nd U-5 Graham Trucking (5) Team Porter Racing
2016 Pre-Season Testing TEST U-5 Graham Trucking (5) Team Porter Racing
2015 San Diego Bayfair 4th U-5 Graham Trucking (6) Porter Racing
2015 Spirit of Detroit Hydrofest 2nd U-5 Graham Trucking (6) Porter Racing
2015 Albert Lee Appliance Cup 1st U-5 Graham Trucking Porter Racing
2015 HAPO APBA Gold Cup 2nd U-5 Graham Trucking (6) Porter Racing
2015 Indiana Governor’s Cup (EXHIBITION) 1st U-5 Graham Trucking (6) Porter Racing
2014 UIM World Championship Oryx Cup 1st U-1 Graham Trucking (6) Ted Porter
2014 San Diego Bayfair 1st U-1 Graham Trucking (6) Ted Porter
2014 Albert Lee Cup 1st U-1 Graham Trucking (6) Ted Porter
2014 HAPO Columbia Cup 7th U-1 Graham Trucking (6) Ted Porter
2014 APBA Gold Cup Gala 4th U-1 Graham Trucking (6) Ted Porter
2014 Indiana Governor’s Cup 1st U-1 Graham Trucking (6) Ted Porter
2013 San Diego Bayfair 7th U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing (6) Billy Schumacher
2013 Diamond Cup 5th U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing (6) Billy Schumacher
2013 Albert Lee Cup 4th U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing (6) Billy Schumacher
2013 Lamb Weston Columbia Cup 10th U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing (6) Billy Schumacher
2013 APBA Gold Cup 7th U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing (6) Billy Schumacher
2013 Indiana Governor’s Cup NO RACE U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing (6) Billy Schumacher
2013 Big Wake Weekend 3rd U-37 Performance Chevrolet Billy Schumacher
2013 UIM World Championship Oryx Cup 5th U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing (6) Billy Schumacher
2012 UIM World Championship Oryx Cup 6th U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing (6) Billy Schumacher
2012 San Diego Bayfair 11th U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing (6) Billy Schumacher
2012 Albert Lee Cup 7th U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing (6) Billy Schumacher
2012 Lamb Weston Columbia Cup 2nd U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing (6) Billy Schumacher
2012 DYC Presents APBA Gold Cup 3rd U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing (6) Billy Schumacher
2012 Lucas Oil Indiana Governor’s Cup 11th U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing (6) Billy Schumacher
2011 UIM World Championship Oryx Cup 7th U-88 Degree Men (2) Billy Schumacher
2011 Air National Guard Championship 5th U-88 Degree Men (2) Billy Schumacher
2011 Albert Lee Cup 4th U-88 Degree Men (2) Billy Schumacher
2011 Lamb Weston Columbia Cup 5th U-88 Degree Men (2) Billy Schumacher
2011 APBA Gold Cup 4th U-88 Degree Men (2) Billy Schumacher
2011 Indiana Governor’s Cup DNS U-88 Degree Men (2) Billy Schumacher
2010 Oryx Cup UIM World Championship 2nd U-7 Graham Trucking (5) Ted Porter
2010 Air National Guard Championship 3rd U-7 Graham Trucking (5) Ted Porter
2010 Albert Lee Cup 5th U-7 Graham Trucking (5) Ted Porter
2010 Lamb Weston Columbia Cup 2nd U-7 Graham Trucking (5) Ted Porter
2010 Jarvis Restoration APBA Gold Cup 3rd U-7 Graham Trucking (5) Ted Porter
2010 Lucas Oil Indiana Governor’s Cup 2nd U-7 Graham Trucking (5) Ted Porter
2009 Oryx Cup UIM World Championship 1st U-7 Graham Trucking (5) Ted Porter
2009 Thunder On The Ohio 2nd U-7 Graham Trucking (5) Ted Porter
2009 Chevrolet Cup 7th U-7 Graham Trucking (5) Ted Porter
2009 Lamb Weston Columbia Cup 8th U-7 Graham Trucking (5) Ted Porter
2009 Chrysler Jeep Superstores APBA Gold Cup 4th U-7 Graham Trucking (5) Ted Porter
2009 Indiana Governor’s Cup 2nd U-7 Graham Trucking (5) Ted Porter
2008 Thunderboat Regatta 5th U-13 Graham Trucking (4) Detroit Unlimited
2008 Chevrolet Cup 7th U-13 Graham Trucking (4) Detroit Unlimited
2008 Lamb Weston Columbia Cup 10th U-13 Graham Trucking (4) Detroit Unlimited
2008 Chrysler Jeep Superstores APBA Gold Cup NO RACE U-13 Miss D.Y.C. (1) Detroit Unlimited
2008 Thunder On The Ohio 7th U-13 Graham Trucking (4) Detroit Unlimited
2007 Thunderboat Regatta 5th U-13 Spirit Of Detroit Detroit Unlimited
2007 Chevrolet Cup At Seafair 3rd U-13 Miss Car Pros (2) Detroit Unlimited
2007 Lamb Weston Columbia Cup 4th U-13 Spirit Of Detroit Detroit Unlimited
2007 Chrysler Jeep Superstores APBA Gold Cup 3rd U-13 Spirit Of Detroit Detroit Unlimited
2007 Indiana Governor’s Cup 3rd U-13 Spirit Of Detroit Detroit Unlimited
2007 Thunder On The Ohio 6th U-13 Spirit Of Detroit Detroit Unlimited
2006 Chevrolet Cup 12th U-13 Acura Of Bellevue Detroit Unlimited
2006 Atomic Cup 12th U-13 Acura Of Bellevue Detroit Unlimited
2006 Chrysler Jeep Superstores APBA Gold Cup DNQ U-13 Acura Of Bellevue Detroit Unlimited
2005 Thunderboat Regatta 5th U-2 Graham Trucking (3) Jim Harvey
2005 Llumar Window Film Music City Hydrofest 8th U-2 Graham Trucking (3) Jim Harvey
2005 Chevrolet Cup 9th U-2 Graham Trucking (3) Jim Harvey
2005 Budweiser Columbia Cup 8th U-2 Graham Trucking (3) Jim Harvey
2005 Chrysler Jeep Superstores APBA Gold Cup 6th U-2 Miss D.Y.C. (3) Jim Harvey
2005 Budweiser Madison Regatta 4th U-2 Miss Bello’s Pizza (2) Jim Harvey
2005 Chevrolet Freedom Festival 7th U-2 Graham Trucking (3) Jim Harvey
2004 Washington Mutual Bill Muncey Cup 5th U-2 Graham Trucking (3) Jim Harvey
2004 Bluewater International Hydrofest 2nd U-2 Sinbad’s Roostertail Jim Harvey
2004 General Motors Cup 5th U-2 Graham Trucking (3) Jim Harvey
2004 Budweiser Columbia Cup 3rd U-2 Miss A.P.B.A. (2) Jim Harvey
HULLS DRIVEN
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VIDEO
2022 U-8 Miss Tri-Cities