EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 13, 2013

Brother, sister keep racing family on fast track

HOWELL, Mich. (AP) — Most parents would shudder at the thought of their children driving over 100 mph, racing through turns and jockeying for lane position with other cars.

But if you’re a member of the Conely clan, driving fast is a way of life.

Longtime Brighton Township resident Jack Conely set track records while racing stock cars for about 25 years. His son, John Conely, raced a few years and then made his name building and maintaining racing engines for McLaren Engines, and later launched his own racing outfit.

Now, the family is watching its third generation put the pedal to the metal while racing at the Waterford Hills Road Racing facility, part of the Oakland County Sportsman’s Road Racing Club.

“Racing is exciting,” Katie Conely said. “You have to think about what you’re doing. It’s fun.”

Katie Conely, 20, and her brother, Sean Conely, 22, both won class championships this season at Waterford Hills in their respective category while driving cars modified for racing. The season, which ended in October, features three races per weekend.

In addition, Sean Conely fell only a few points short of being named overall champion among the 100 drivers who race at the 1.5-mile track, which tests drivers with its many curves and turns.

John and Jenny Conely are their parents.

Katie Conely, a Michigan State University engineering student, just completed her first full season of racing. She started racing when she was 18 and said her older brother gave her plenty of driving tips.

“I was able to finish every race I started,” she said.

Katie Conely drives a 1984 Honda CR-X. She reaches speeds of up to 90 mph and has spun out a few times but has had no injuries.

Sean Conely, a 2009 Brighton High School graduate, is studying to be a mechanic at Washtenaw Community College. He began taking his Camaro to the track when he was 16 for open-track events and began racing when he was 18.

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