Veterans look to return to the top

Memphis, TN - For the past 10 years, Skip Jackson has left Australia during the winter, which is summer in the US, to race sprint cars, and for almost 20 years, American sprint car star Danny Smith has spent his winters racing in Australia. Both...

Memphis, TN - For the past 10 years, Skip Jackson has left Australia during the winter, which is summer in the US, to race sprint cars, and for almost 20 years, American sprint car star Danny Smith has spent his winters racing in Australia. Both are former winners of the Kele World Challenge and are excited to be in the field again.

"It's always a great race for us to be a part of," said Jackson, who competes weekly at Knoxville Raceway. "Roger Johnson and the fine folks at Kele have always been looking to help the sport grow both in Australia and in the US. I think Danny and I both feel at home no matter where we are."

Jackson is a three-time winner of the Kele World Challenge, claiming the crown in 1995, 1997 and 1998 while Smith won his World Challenge title in 1996, and has finished second the last two years. Both drivers are working with new teams during the 2002 season.

"We've had a pretty good go at it this year," said Smith, who has been racing sprint cars since 1974. "I'm driving for Guy Webb and we've raced a lot with the All-Stars and some with the Outlaws. I would be happier with more wins, but we've got a good program here so we're excited about the Nationals and the Kele World Challenge."

Jackson started his 2002 campaign in the US with new team owner John Robinson. "We began the season with no expectations," said Jackson. "We just hoped to make the feature every Saturday night. Rain has taken some nights away from us, but we have been pretty consistent on most of the nights. We do have one win under our belt and that was a big accomplishment for a new team."

Both drivers expect to continue racing on both continents as long as they can. "Racing continues to grow and hopefully, Skip and I can continue to be very competitive both in the US and Australia," said Smith. "There are a lot of great people that get to enjoy this Kele World Challenge, and I know the drivers certainly have fun with it."

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 Warrnambool Classic have been challenging to earn the title of "best world sprint car driver".

The 1997 Kele World Challenge was the first to be decided on the track. Skip "Action" Jackson drew a front row starting position and led all 10 laps to claim the $5000 prize. Australians Brooke Tatnell and Garry Brazier finished second and third ahead of Danny Smith (USA), Joe Gaerte (USA), Peter Murphy (AUS) and Trevor Green (AUS).

-kwc-

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Series Sprint
Drivers Brad Furr , Donny Schatz , Brooke Tatnell , Daryn Pittman , Kerry Madsen , Chad Kemenah , Peter Murphy