About Us

As the Pitmom to three daughters over a 16 year span, Race Wife & Business Partner to hubby Mike (since ’92) and a Racing Industry Entrepreneur – I have worn many different hats over the last 20 years in my Karting Career. I may be considered very “knowledgeable” by some, but let me tell you – I made my fair share of MISTAKES along the way! [Heck, I still make them from time-to-time – but don’t tell Mike!]

But one thing is for sure – I LEARNED from each and every one of them.  Sometimes very tough lessons, often very humbling lessons – but then those are the ones that seem to matter most.

Well, I want to help you, the Pitmoms and Crew Chief Dads, along with our young drivers out there who are just getting started. I want to share with you my experience, training, hard-knocks lessons learned, tips and advice so that, hopefully – we can brag one day about a KAM Driver making it all the way to NASCAR!

Yes, I have big dreams just like your 10 year old! Why not? Kyle Larson is proof that it is within our grasps to realize this achievement from one of our local drivers. Our daughter, Kaley – along with a few other KAM Drivers – actually know and raced alongside Kyle for several years on the Outlaw circuit. He just got one lucky break more than most – that and he’s a ‘freak of nature’ behind the wheel….. but if it were not for NASCAR’s Drive 4 Diversity, who knows if he would have gotten there or not.

Then I wonder just how many talented “Kyle Larson’s” there are out there who qualify for the D4D program and just don’t know about it – or worse, send in an application package that gets overlooked because of how it was presented.

That’s where I want to step in and assist. I’ve been through it all with my girls and other KAM drivers over the years.  From Women in the Winner’s Circle (Kaley was the youngest female driver ever showcased!) & our oldest (Amber) making it to the final round of the Red Bull Driver Search back in 2004.

And yes, we applied for the Drive 4 Diversity program. Major FAIL on the most important submission requirement: The Video Presentation.  Yep! I sent in a crappie presentation that got….you guessed it…OVERLOOKED! [I have the YouTube Promo Video as proof! UGH! – view at your own risk!]  Poor Kaley – it’s not her fault that mom & dad never shot video footage of her racing, let alone learned what to do WITH the video AFTER it’s shot.  She had a stellar race resume, numerous National & Regional Championship Titles with impeccable references. Heck, Lyn St James wrote her a glowing letter and she’s a former Professional IndyCar Racer, winner of the 1992 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of The Year (first woman to win) and 7 Indianapolis 500 starts in 9 years.  A freakin LEGEND was telling NASCAR to pick Kaley for the Diversity program!

TIP: Video Marketing is HUGE right now AND a skill that you will need to learn, or be prepared to pay for someone else to do it for you. Look at Champion Spark Plug’s Sponsor campaign – totally “Video” Marketing all the way, and the only way to get your driver in front the them.  Another example is the Peak Driver Search contest – VIDEO ENTRY.   SIDE NOTE: D4D’s Video requirement was a 5 minute video that was suppose to represent “years” of  racing experience with a 60 second “driver intro”.  Kaley’s intro was flawless!  at least her part in actually introducing herself.  Video quality was so bad – then there was my “attempts” at video editing.  HAHA – I didn’t even have my own footage of her.  I ‘borrowed’ other people’s clips from YouTube that I found her in.  {Still shaking my head over this!}

Okay, Lesson Learned!  THE VERY HARD WAY.  We are not going to let things like that or having a bad race resume format, poor Branding and/or marketing strategies hinder your young racer’s chances of a  future motorsports career.  Not if I can help it!

So let’s work together and put them on the path to the ultimate Victory Lane Celebration.

I have a quote on my home office wall that reads:

“If your Dreams don’t scare you, they are not BIG enough.”

I know how close we got with 2 of our own kids – it’s just a matter of time before one of our other KAM Kids makes it all the way.  So partner with Executive Speed and let me help you! You can take what you like or need, and leave the rest – I’m not the ultimate marketing maharishi by any means – but I do know my stuff. I have gained quite an education over the past 20 years in grassroots racing. Let my experience save you time, heartache and yes – even money.

 ~Kelley


TAKE A LOOK AT MY TIMELINE BELOW:  It’s a look back over the past 20 years – tells the a story behind my passion and how I developed skill sets that will now help you with your “TOTAL” Driver Development Planning….

Megan is 2 weeks old
Megan is 2 weeks old and Mike is reading her “The Complete Karting Guide”!

 

Baby Megan
Baby Megan in Mike’s 1st Kart – a Top Line Chassis that we would later become our first Dealer line in our shop.

 

Amber
Amber “Miss Intimidator” Engstrom A very young Amber in the prime of her karting career at NTK in 1996.

 KAM Karting SupplyThe above picture was taken in 1995 when Mike and I first started KAM Karting Supply (out of our garage).  We offered Track-side support at NTK every weekend.  DISCLAIMER: My first mistake – was that LOGO!  Do NOT create a logo with a checkered filled letters or background.  {I will elaborate more on this in my upcoming blogs about lessons I’ve learned the hard way….series.}  KAM was also an NTK Track sponsor from day one – we felt the ‘calling’ of supporting our sport and growing karting. Mike served as a Board members off and on for over 8 years, while I served several years as the Membership Chairman.  Back then you had to cut and paste – and I mean literallyCut-and-then-Paste” — with glue and everything — the clip art, Ad Copy, the ‘news’ items/announcements and assemble it to all before actually making the copies.  Yes, I was in charge of a monthly Newsletter even way back then.  I did over 300, 2-4 page copies every month.  We used to have an assembly line in our kitchen….boy Amber hated that time of month.  She would always end up with a paper cut from folding the newsletters!

So, the reality is I have been writing content and have experience in delivering value to readers for going on 20 years.  Executive Speed was a logical step to take for me. Toot! Toot!

THE EARLY YEARS AS A KART INDUSTRY LEADER

VMT Importer  VMT   Dallas Patterson  Dallas in 2001 

Mike and I became the exclusive VMT Chassis Importer of this Italian kart line and eventually had 5 US Dealers in our Distributorship network.  Dallas Patterson became our “Factory Driver” and earned KAM many victories between 2001 – 2004.  He made us proud and helped us sell a lot of VMT karts too.  Dallas is now in the beginning stages of his own endeavor as a Karting “entrepreneur”.  He is the new Co-Owner of Leading Edge Motorsports of Texas.  I am still a very proud Pitmom & huge fan of his – I know he will do great things as he is an asset to Karting. [Click on image thumbnails for a larger picture view.]

Amber
Amber was the 1st to hold a National Championship Title for KAM.

 

KAM and KART Partner
2003 KAM is the KART Regional Series Title Sponsor

 

KAM land
2003 Before KAM Kartway – I wanted to name the track “Fossil Creek Raceway”…..  ??

 

2003 The NEW KAM Shop
2003: With the help of friends and our girls, we turned a shell of a building into the new KAM Shop.

 

Chad Miller with Mike
Mike with KAM emplopyee, Chad Miller.

Interesting Side Note: Chad is also the nephew of Steve Miller (of the Steve Miller Band!)….  and he was a licensed Pilot – but LOVED karts and racing.  He worked with us for 8 years before the economy took a poop on our industry, and we could no  longer afford his salary.  The above picture shows how busy they used to be – and this was every day.

From 2004 to 2008, I worked side-by-side with Mike in the shop building our business.  In 2005, KAM was named a “Top 10 National Dealer” for SSC Racing – the US Importer for Rotax.  I was also a regular contributor for National Kart News magazine and articles on Ekartingnews.com.   **Cool, huh!** 

Rmax Challenge
I got my “Race Promoter” start with the Internationally Renowned Conglomerate and Karting giant: Rotax.

In 2006 we partnered with NTK to co-promote and manage the Official “KAM / NTK Rmax Challenge”.  I was named the North Texas R-Max Challenge Series Administrator for almost 5 years, ending my career on a high note as the 6th best “Challenge” series in the country! [Special Side Note: KAM Kartway Class Sponsor, Mike Melton’s son (and fellow Sprint Car driver to many former KAM Drivers) Justin Melton was our Challenge Winner 3 years in a row.  He went on to win each of those three years the National Championship Title, and advanced to the World Nationals to represent KAM in three different countries!]

USING THE MARKETING SKILLS THAT I LEARNED IN PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, I STARTED PROMOTING DAUGHTER KALEY’S RACING CAREER

      email      NASCAR.com with Kaley  on stage  Letter from NASCAR Pres Mike Helton  Program screenshot  Sarah Fisher

In the picture gallery above – the first image is a Screenshot of an Email we received for Kaley back in ’05 from the Lyn St James Foundation – she was only 10 years old at the time and they wanted her to enter their Driver Development program! We had to pass that year, but we were able to enroll her in the program in 2008 {after my return to Property Management full-time}. The next year, she was invited to be a “Showcased Driver” at the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation Celebration.  Kaley also received the honor of being the youngest female driver in the history of the event to have been “Showcased”!  The other pictures above are from that event. #2 Pic) Group pic on NASCAR.com blog post, #3 Pic) Kaley on stage with other honorees, #4 Pic) Letter from NASCAR Pres, Mike Helton, #5 pic) Screenshot of Kaley in program (above Sarah Fisher!) and #6 Pic) Megan WITH Sarah Fisher. Because they were lined up alphabetically, Kaley and Sarah Fisher got to hang out most of the day together (“E” and “F”) – Kaley was stoked!  Sarah was so nice. 

TRUE STORY: one of the first professional races we took Kaley to was at TMS during an Indy Car race when Kaley was about 6 or 7, and when we told her there was a “girl” on the track (Sarah Fisher) – Kaley stood in her seat and didn’t take her eyes off her car the whole race.

MY OFFICIAL NEED FOR “DRIVER” BLOGGING GOES BACK 8 YEARS

Kaley first blog post
Here is Kaley’s very first “Blog Post” that I had her write. She was 11.

 SAMPLE OF THE FIRST “HERO CARD” THAT I DESIGNED

Hero Card
2008 Hero Card of Megan & Kaley

 The picture below is what inspires me to help others with their Driver & Team Management! The BEST Memories a person could ask for have been made with racing at my side (or in my front yard!)

Family Memories
Some of the BEST Family Memories that I have, have been made at the track with our Race Team.

FLyerStory behind above image of Flyer:  Due to the economy (and because Karting proved not to be a very “Recession Proof” business), funds started to dry up and in ’09 things were tight, AND on top of that – our personal race team budget was squeezed even harder as Megan joined the Race Team. {Late bloomer, but showed amazing talent for having waited until she was 14 to start racing} So the girls set out to help raise “funds” for their Racing Budget by offering a driving schoolThey called it “MAK Daddy Driving School”  – it was ‘KAM’ spelled backwards so that it would stand for “Megan and Kaley” [Megan was always the last up until then:)] AND the Daddy for Mike, since he was helping them.  Oh, GOOD TIMES!  Look – they even provided drinks!!!  🙂  This was also how K&K Race Services was born, and Kaley became a business owner a few years later at the age of 16. 

Shameless Plug: Kaley is available for Racing Mentorship, on-track Coaching and has her own Driver Development program – follow her on Facebook here.

ron

In 2010, Kaley was also selected to participate in the coveted Ron Sutton Drivers Search – and was later offered a spot on his Development Team.  But, alas funding problems prevented us from being able to send Kaley to the program.  Kaley later Coached one of her fellow “Search” team members, who did go on to be a Sutton development driver – Cole Glasson. Cole was a student in her K&K Race Services Driver Development Micro-Sprint program.  She took an opportunity (learning from Ron Sutton’s 3-day Talent Search program), used it as inspiration and developed her own Driver Development program.  NOTE: I have learned a lot from this child – most other kids I’ve seen would have viewed the “not getting to go” part as such a negative event and she turned it into something good to complement her racing passion.  [At the time I was putting all our worldly possessions on Ebay to get the money to send her and it was she that told me “No” – something else would come along…..] As a side note here – I don’t know where or how she developed such an amazing will with a can-do-attitude with a driving passion to help others in the sport – it couldn’t have been from me because, as I’ve hinted to already – I was THAT “CRAZY”, Psycho “Little League” Pitmom, that went temporarily insane during a race feature — or two — BUT…. that was back in the day.  Yeah – No!  I said I learned some lessons the hard way – well, I also learned a lot FROM Kaley instead of the other-way-around.

Okay, enough “Bragging about Kaley” – if you want to learn more about Kaley and see how truly amazing her journey has been please visit her website here.

I’m sure that I will do enough “Bragging” on all my girls over the course of my Blogging.   ENJOY them – they are remarkable young women!

 

THE DIRT LIFE WAS (ALMOST) MADE FOR TV

The Dirt Life
Our almost “Reality Show: The Dirt Life” – this is the official Treatment that was pitched to TV Networks.

Yep!  We were almost Reality TV Stars!  >>You can view the “Pilot” here on YouTube << And, Yes! I know – I was a total goober. But that’s how most Pitmoms act, right?!  The old Facebook page is still up too – you can see a lot of behind-the-scenes pictures and posts here

The back story on this project was:  I knew we had a compelling story and our life was just so crazy with our business, our girls racing, my antics, Mike building a dirt track, our KAM Racing community, and — well, you get the picture.  I started writing Pitch ideas and taking notes on different events that I thought would make for a good TV show.  Next I researched Reality TV production companies and built a list of TV producers and executives to contact….once I knew what to say to them.   During this time I approached a resident at the apartments I was managing who was a Media Professor at UNT and ‘pitched’ my idea to him.  He loved it!  But more importantlyand lucky for me – he thought it would be a great Project Assignment for his class.  So he volunteered his services: equipment, expertise, and HOURS of time – from the editing – to writing script notes, filming, producing a “Sizzle Reel” for us to use to pitch to producers. 

He made me about 15 copies and I was off and running.  One of the DVD’s landed on the desk of Dave Jones, owner of Truxton Productions.  He saw the potential and a deal was struck for a full blown “pilot” to be produced and he would “shop” it around to the networks. 

SIDE NOTE & True Story: It probably didn’t hurt either, that the very day he was at KAM to meet the family, I found out (by accident through the Mother of Kaley’s best friend -AND- right in front of him only moments after being introduced) that Megan had had an accident hauling her race car home from Cowtown TWO WEEKS prior. 

I KNEW I DIDN’T WANT MY BABY RACING A SPORT MOD!!  AND with Kaley in the truck! IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT! AND DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO TELL ME! BECAUSE THEIR DAD SAID: “DON’T TELL MOM”!!!!!!! I KNEW I DIDN’T WANT MY BABY RACING A SPORT MOD!! 

Needless-to-say I went a little bat-shit crazy for a split-second (or an hour, I can’t remember) and Dave got to witness the whole made-for-TV-drama play out right before his very eyes.  At the very least he knew we were the “real deal”.  haha

Even though we didn’t get our TV show, we had a lot of fun going for “my dream”, despite the odds against us.  But the silver lining and greatest Blessing from the experience is that we made a life-time friend in Dave, who is now the Godfather to Megan’s two boys. He considers Megan & Kaley “His Drivers” and “daughters”.

THE TAKE-A-WAY: – I had a Dream, a product, and a will – and I almost made a TV show happen!  THE TAKE-A-WAY: Don’t let any opportunity slip by…. you never know could happen.  

THE REWARD FOR DREAMING BIG: – A Lifelong, true-blue-friends are far better than reality TV fame! 

BACK TO MY RACING BUSINESS ROOTS

In Oct of 2012 I lost my job in Property Management due to “Downsizing” (also known as: getting rid of the highest paid, College-educated employee with 20 years industry experience to save money in a bad economy….).   But the timing was spot-on for me to come back to KAM full-time and really take over Track management and Promotions with a gusto.  Our Kart count had doubled and we were seeing higher than industry averages on race day.  BLESSINGS!  However the shop sales continued to decline and Mike eventually took an outside job to make ends meet.  I tell you this because it’s part of my story – nothing more, nothing less. I am an open book, because I feel that this is the best way for me to “Teach” and Mentor others.  I have been ridiculed for disclosing such personal information to the point of being called a “bad” businesswoman.  I assure you – with the industry track record of more than 80% of my counterparts closing their doors, and ours are still open — Bad Business is NOT on my resume!  In fact, I’d say that I am a damn GOOD Businesswoman! [Okay, last time – I promise: Toot! Toot!]

I am a winner.  KAM is winning.  Our Drivers are CHAMPIONS!

THE IDEA FOR EXECUTIVE SPEED WAS BORN

A little over a year ago, I started to teach myself WordPress because I wanted my website to look a certain way, do certain things, etc. and didn’t want a Template to dictate my vision.  HOURS of study, trial and error and a few MAJOR mistakes made – [one time our site went totally “white space” for two days due to a my coding errors!!!  YIKES!!] – I now have a pretty good handle on it. I am a self-learner and will research anything that I think is important or can help my business.  I am up-to-date on Internet Laws, Google Rules and and industry regulations.  Website development is NOT like it was back in ’96 when I built my first KAM website!  

I have always LOVED Marketing & PR as well as Training.  I earned a training certification from the National Apartment Association, became a public speaker and wrote my own seminars for the Dallas and Tarrant County Apartment Assoc. chapters for their in-house training and Regional trade shows.  So, to get a little bit of that “fun” back in my business life, I decided to start my own PR, Marketing and Training firm (Executive Speed).

Over the past year, while learning WordPress, I brought on a few “Tester” clients for the Website part of the business.  Although, I have not been able to offer the training opportunities to the parents that I had hoped to due to the work load with KAM Kartway and the Shop – I have been able to measure some very positive metrics on all my websites, most of all KAMkartway.com as well as KAM Kartway’s Facebook page. {I hope you are looking forward to some future blog posts on metrics, what they are, why they are important, how to measure and keep stats to show potential marketing partners!}

First and foremost, my passion is the kids that race at KAM.  I am Blessed to have them in my life and feel a duty to honor that Blessing by being a positive influence in their lives. My second passion is helping others.  I want to help these deserving young souls become good drivers to better their chances for that racing career which fuels their dreams.  And finally, my passions #3 & #4 would be my love for Marketing & Training.  Mix all that together, I am pretty sure that I have all the ingredients for a potentially successful Youth Driver PR & Marketing business that will offer value-added benefits to my current KAM customer base.  

I NEED YOU TO HELP ME REALIZE THIS DREAM

Why you?  Because YOU are needed to help me fine-tune my “services” from the ground floor!  Basically I need “Beta testers” to evaluate my services and skills, and to test my abilities and knowledge to see if this is really even something that I can make work long-term.  The first step in my plan is to build my website and subscriber list by publishing content with useful articles that readers like you will want to read (aka: content-rich blogging that offers value to the reader). 

So what can you do for me right now? Well, to start – one or more of the following would be very much appreciated:

  1. Subscribe to my site (building my list is #1 priority for Sponsors & Advertisers) and READ my blogs. 
  2. Then give me feedback.
  3. Hire me to develop & design a basic website for your team or driver, at or near “Cost” to help me build my portfolio.
  4. Attend my Workshops & Webinars – again give me feedback!! **Save the date for Feb 15th for first “Marketing” workshop**
  5. Write a testimonial about my services, racing knowledge, marketing skills or give me a personal reference so I can build up “Credibility” to sell myself to potential “Partners”.

My ultimate Goal is to see a KAM Driver Racing in NASCAR at TMS one day. I was there when Kyle Larson did it! Our drivers are doing one thing exactly like him – starting their racing careers in Outlaw Dirt Karts.  The driving skills are all up to them, but the other major part is up to us. The actual racing part is only a fraction of the equation – Marketability is KEY in Motorsports. With proper planning, Marketing, Driver Branding, and effective Team Management we will build a more solid foundation for them to reach their goals and achieve those BIG DREAMS.

If you already have a suggestion or comment, please let me know!!  Just use the “Contact Form” below.

 

Thank you and God Bless you for helping me with this new endeavor. 

 

 

 

 

 

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