Kye Kelley has risen to success not only in the reality television industry, but in a most unconventional arena: Street Racing. Kelley is widely recognized as a notable name in the racing community, after his initial beating of the OKC Street Outlaws. Kye appears in the Discovery Channel docuseries “Street Outlaws”, which follows the lives of drag racers and their adrenaline filled careers. Kelley has worked hard to establish a name for himself, coming from a background that forced him to abandon his college studies due to financial difficulties. Although he began his career in the oil mining industry, today he is a notable name in his chosen vocation, and owns a vehicle performance shop in his hometown.
Early life and Family
Kye Kelley II was born on 18 May 1985, in Magnolia, Mississippi, USA, to Kye Kelley I and Tammy Kelley. Kye has a sister named Lacy Howell, with whom he grew up on the family farm in Magnolia, where his mother taught him to hunt and fish. He even credits his mother with his charitable nature, claiming that she would do anything to help the family, and keep them healthy.
Kye first developed an interest in cars around the age of 14. A man in his area named Otis would regularly host Sunday meet-ups, consisting of anywhere between 50 and 60 people, and were a chance to socialize, cook, and most importantly, drag race.
Hoping to eventually buy his own car to race, Kye took several jobs to fund his dream, working at the local grocery store, and milking cows on a neighboring farm.
Kye attended South Pike Senior High in Magnolia, and was a conscientious and intelligent student, so matriculating with a partial scholarship to Junior College. However, Kelley didn’t come from a wealthy family, and couldn’t afford to finish his education. He was forced to enter the workforce immediately, which struck a huge blow to his confidence. Kelley shares that his subsequent fame and success in “Street Outlaws” was even more significant to him, as he had believed that he was destined for a life of obscurity.
After being forced to abandon his education, Kye moved into the petroleum refining industry, starting on the lowest of the rungs as a fire watcher. This role was incredibly unfulfilling, consisting of sitting for hours at a time, looking out for potential fires while there is welding in progress. Kye told Dragzine that this “makes you feel like the most useless person there is.”
Kelley was determined to find satisfaction and success in his career, and dedicated the next ten years to rising through the ranks. He eventually reached the top of the chain, earning the title of Superintendent and managing 250 other workers, but despite his success in the industry, Kye was always drawn back to the street, meeting up with friends regularly to drive grudge races.
When Kye became serious about his racing habit, he realized that the time had come to upgrade his vehicle. After purchasing a third-generation 1984 Chevrolet Camaro, he worked ceaselessly to completely revamp the car, upgrading and replacing practically every element. The result is known as The Shocker, and is complete with a state-of-the-art engine, wield wheels and optic armor windows.
For years, Kye had been racing in the infamous New Orleans location known as Da’ Pad. Aside from accruing expertise in car construction, Kye also rose to fame in the neighborhood as being the fastest racer in New Orleans, which was exactly what Kelley needed to launch his career.
— Street Outlaws (@StreetOutlaws) March 30, 2018
Justin Shearer, a prominent cast member on “Street Outlaws”, arrived at Da Pad to recruit the best racer in the area, and was immediately directed to Kye, and Kelley’s life took a momentous turn.
“Street Outlaws is produced for Discovery Channel by Pilgrim Studios, who have also produced popular titles such as “My Big Fat Fabulous Life” and “The Runner”. Street Outlaws” documents the drama of drag racing on the streets of Oklahoma City, and premiered on 10 June 2013, later spawning multiple spin-offs in Memphis and New Orleans.
Kye Kelley in “Street Outlaws”
When he was recruited by Justin Shearer, Kye was awarded the opportunity to race the show’s star, Daddy Dave on his home turf.
Although he narrowly lost the initial race, he was invited to participate in an enormous street racing event in Texas during the fourth season of the show, episodes nine and ten, which aired on 23 February 2015. Kye participation was an incredible success, as he finally beat Daddy Dave as well as multiple other cast members, walking away with the grand prize of $16,000. This led to a series of successes, one at Da Pad where he won $6,000, and another in Oklahoma City where he won an additional $16,000.
Kye became a regular on the show during season seven, but only appeared for nine episodes before his tenure ended. Although his participation was short-lived, he was able to participate in events that he would never have been able to, because of the show.
One of these was his 2015 race against the 14-time world champion, Mike Murilla. By all appearances, Kye had won the race by three car lengths, but it was ultimately determined that Kye had jump-started due to his adrenaline. He admitted to the fault in good humor, but maintains that he would still have won the race.
After losing his salary that had been coming in from “Street Outlaws”, Kye knew that he needed to create a new business opportunity. After taking out a bank loan, he opened a performance shop. His friend Greg Champagne joined the venture, and Down South Performance in McComb Mississippi was launched. The shop became well known for their proficiency and quality of work, but closed sometime in 2018.
Kye then started Kye Kelly Racing, a merchandise store that capitalized on his success and fame. It’s run by him and his girlfriend, a fellow drag racer, and peddles a variety of branded clothing and gear. He also makes frequent appearances on racetracks, spreading his love of street racing.
Kye met Alisa Mote when he was looking for a car. Although their professions were vastly different – he a drag racer, and she a nurse – the two soon developed a romantic relationship. They became engaged on 21 May 2014, and married over a year later in August of 2015. Almost exactly two years after their engagement, Alisa gave birth to a girl who they named Kenadeigh Alexa Kelley.
This was Kye’s second daughter, but the identity of both his first daughter and her mother remain unknown. Unfortunately, Kye and Alisa’s marriage took a turn for the worse, and they divorced in 2017.
Since his divorce, Kye has been dating a fellow drag racer named Lisa Musi. Lisa comes from a family of drag racers, starting in her family business at the age of eight, and was already competing in Junior Drag at the age of sixteen, and so is a highly accomplished driver. She and Kye don’t have any children, but they do share a French Bulldog named Biggie.
Everything about Kye’s new car is of the highest quality. Although it is also a Camaro, it may still outstrip his current ride.
Dubbed ‘The Show Stopper’, the new vehicle has been fitted with six Nitrous Kits – four more than the original Shocker; he partnered with Jordan of Jordan Carriers, who enabled him to make his dream a huge success.
Kye has an extremely friendly countenance and is almost always smiling. He has dark brown hair and eyes, and maintains a short beard. He is tall and well built, although he’s usually pictured in his vehicles. He is 5ft 9ins (1.75m) tall and weighs around 200lbs (over 90kgs).
Net Worth and Salary
Due to no longer appearing on “Street Outlaws”, Kye relies on the fame that he gained during that time to make a living. Kye has an online store, and is also paid for making appearances at various races. He has a net worth estimated at over $800,000, as of mid-2020.