Memphis, TN - Jeff Shepard and Daryn Pittman have made many laps racing sprint cars during their careers, but both with will be rookies in the upcoming Kele World Challenge. Shepard, who just won the Pella Corp. 1200lb. Nationals at Knoxville ...
Memphis, TN - Jeff Shepard and Daryn Pittman have made many laps racing sprint cars during their careers, but both with will be rookies in the upcoming Kele World Challenge. Shepard, who just won the Pella Corp. 1200lb. Nationals at Knoxville Raceway on Saturday night, and Pittman, who has four Pennzoil World of Outlaws victories this season, both made their first laps on Australian soil last winter and are excited about racing in this year's Kele World Challenge instead of watching the race on August 9th during the Mopar Parts Knoxville Nationals.
"It's great that I get to be a part of the race this year," said Shepard,who will drive Denny Ashworth's #92 Eagle. "There's so much pressure every time you hit the track during the Nationals and to be able to be in a special race like this for $10,000 is exciting. We had a great time in Australia and led the Classic, so I'm pumped about going back there. That means I can race in the World Challenge again next year, too."
Pittman, who is scheduled to return to Australia following the 2002 WoO season, is having a breakthrough season with a new team. He is driving the #21 Sher-Don Motorsports J&J and has scored a career high four wins this season. He has been able to bounce back from an early season back injury and is optimistic about his chances both in the Nationals and the World Challenge.
"We've had a good season and these next couple of weeks could make it a great season," said Pittman, who calls Owasso, OK home. "Our goal is to start 16th in the World Challenge. That would mean we had the most points in the Nationals qualifying. Roger Johnson and everybody involved with this Kele World Challenge should be commended for making these strides to help sprint car racing grow."
The Kele World Challenge is a joint effort between Knoxville Raceway and the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum in Knoxville, Iowa, and the Kele Companies of Memphis, Tennessee.
RACE FACTS: Twenty drivers are expected to enter this year's Kele World Challenge and the lineup will be determined by qualifying points for the Mopar Parts Knoxville Nationals. In order to qualify for the 16-lap race, an eligible driver must compete in the Nationals and earn points on either the Wednesday or Thursday qualification nights. The top 16 eligible drivers in the top 106 in points will then be inverted for the start of the Kele World Challenge race, with the remaining drivers tagging the dash lineup in order by points.
THE FIELD: 20 drivers are expected to enter the race including: Brent Antill (USA), PJ Chesson (USA), Max Dumesny (AUS), Brad Furr (USA), Jeff Hodgson (CAN), Skip Jackson (AUS), Lynton Jeffrey (AUS), Chad Kemenah (USA), Danny Lasoski (USA), Ricky Logan (USA), Kerry Madsen (AUS), David Murcott (AUS), Peter Murphy (AUS), Daryn Pittman (USA), Donny Schatz (USA), Jeff Shepard (USA), Danny Smith (USA), Brooke Tatnell (AUS), Tommy Tarlton (USA), Kurt Winker (USA)
EVENT HISTORY: Since 1994, drivers that have competed in both the Knoxville Nationals and Warrambool Classic have been challenging to earn the title of "best world sprint car driver".
In the 1998 Kele World Challenge, Skip Jackson jumped to the lead from his front row starting position and checked out as he dominated the race. Terry McCarl and Brent Antill traded the runner-up spot by using some tight slide jobs, while Randy Hannagan and Brooke Tatnell did the same in their battle for fourth. Jackson took home the $5000 winner's check for the Australians and was followed by McCarl (USA), Antill (USA), Hannagan (USA) and Tatnell (AUS).