Erin Kelly, 48, of Marshall, Virginia, was the longtime rally co-driver of driver Thomas “TJ” Pullen. Their 1998 Subaru Impreza Outback rally car was involved in a crash in which she lost her life.
According to a release from the American Rally Association® (ARA), the pair was on the final stage of competition in the New England Forest Rally near Bethel, Maine, on Friday, July 14, 2023, when the vehicle left the course and crashed.
New England Forest Rally Canceled for Remainder of Weekend
After a meeting with competitors, the New England Forest Rally organizers and the ARA decided to cancel the remainder of the weekend’s rally.
“Our focus right now is on Erin, TJ, and their families,” said Preston Osborn, ARA series director. “Erin was an accomplished co-driver and a well-loved member of our rally community. We send our deepest condolences to her family, friends, and our competitors and fans.”
Rally Community Responds to the Loss
Other competitors and organizations sent their condolences after learning about the crash. Subaru Motorsports USA published a statement on Saturday following the crash:
“The entire family at Subaru Motorsports USA and Subaru of America is deeply saddened by the loss of Erin Kelly at this year’s New England Forest Rally. Our hearts go out to her family and loved ones as well as driver TJ Pullen and the Pullen Away Rally Team as we mourn her loss together with the rally community.”
Chris Cyr, CEO of Team O’Neil Rally School and a founding member of the ARA, told News Center Maine: “My thoughts are constantly with her family. They’re so known in our community, so it’s a big loss for everyone for sure.”
The Florida International Rally & Motorsport Park posted its condolences in a Facebook post: “Erin was a staple in the rally community and impacted thousands with her unforgettable smile, talents and love for the sport. She will be dearly missed.”
Block House Racing – which continues the legacy of Ken Block through his wife, Lucy, and daughter Lia – posted on Facebook: “Kelly was a genuinely loving and loveable human being. We are saddened by her loss yesterday while competing at NEFR.”
Rally school DirtFish posted an article about Kelly’s impact on the sport, with a quote from Jeremy Meyer, ARA’s business and marketing director:
“They really were all about the fun and the enjoyment. They’d been together in the car for [practically] their whole time in the sport – neither of them had [ever really] competed with anybody else.”
Kelly had been co-driving with Pullen Away Rally Team since 2015 in ARA rally competition, winning the ARA East Regional NA4WD championship in 2018.
The ARA-supported RaceAid Fund is accepting donations in Kelly’s honor at raceaid.fund/donate.