2007 World of Outlaws Preview: Chad Kemenah Concord, NC--Jan. 30, 2007 -- Chad Kemenah is always anxious to see the end of January roll around, because that means it's time to hit the road and travel south to Florida, with the new racing season...
2007 World of Outlaws Preview: Chad Kemenah
Concord, NC--Jan. 30, 2007 -- Chad Kemenah is always anxious to see the end of January roll around, because that means it's time to hit the road and travel south to Florida, with the new racing season just days away. Looking to turn a few extra laps, Kemenah arrived in the Sunshine State a couple weeks early this season to hit the track.
The native of Findlay, Ohio will be driving for Pete Grove and Premier Motorsports this season, after owning his own team last year. First up on the World of Outlaws schedule for the team will be the 36th Annual DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Mopar Speedshop at Volusia Speedway Park, February 9-11.
Kemenah won on opening night last year at Volusia, as he set fast time, won the dash to earn the pole position, and led wire-to-wire in the 25-lap event. That fast start helped him firmly establish himself as the main contender for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award, which he claimed at the end of the year, on the strength of 27 Top-10 finishes along the way. He finished seventh overall in the series championship standings, and will look to build upon that this season.
"We have a lot of things that we are looking forward to," said Kemenah, a four-time champion with the O'Reilly All Star Circuit of Champions. "We're looking pretty good in terms of parts and equipment. Pete has hopefully given us everything we need to go out and compete at a real high level."
As he was wrapping up his first full season on the road with the World of Outlaws last season, Kemenah already was looking ahead to the 2007 season and knew he would have a couple of options to weigh, and a couple of different directions he could go in. The one thing he knew for sure was that he wanted to compete again with the World of Outlaws.
"It all came about pretty quick," he explained. "We called Pete right before Las Vegas at the end of last season and talked about it for a little while. It all took off in December and January. We have been pretty busy. Everything is going along pretty clear. We've known Pete for a long time and kind of joked in the past about driving for him, and he joked with us. Hopefully we'll make the best of this."
Being a car owner last season kept Kemenah very busy on many different fronts. When he was not in the car or working on it, he was making sure all the pieces were in place business-wise for the team to stay on the road and compete for wins night in and night out. He is excited this year to get back to just driving, and being able to focus his attention and energy on that 100 percent.
"That car owner thing, somebody else can try that job," said Kemenah jokingly. "We're all really excited for this. Sometimes new things work out better. Underground Utilities will still come over and be a sponsor, but under a new name. We'll have Attica Raceway Park on the car this year, but its still John Bores. We've been with him for 10 years, and maybe we can turn this thing into something really really good."
With his brother Brian serving as crew chief again this season, along with his nephew A.J. turning the wrenches, Kemenah believes that they have a very strong team assembled. Having worked together for a number of years, Chad and Brian are a big part of each other's success on the track.
Kemenah visited over 20 tracks for the first time last season from coast-to-coast, including trips to the Pacific Northwest to compete at Skagit (Wash.) Speedway and Southern Oregon Speedway, as well as his first visit to the Golden State to race in the Harvest Classic at Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway and the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway.
Along with his brother, Chad learned countless things last year while on the road, both on and off the track. He believes this experience will help this year in his second go-around on the nearly 90-race schedule that stretches from February until early November.
"A lot of what I learned last year came from driving up and down the highway all the time," he stated. "That is different than anything we had ever done. Going back to these race tracks that we have seen before definitely will not hurt. We'll get back and do a lot of the race tracks we have seen and will not be as much in the dark."
While home in the Buckeye State during the off-season, Kemenah was able to catch up with many people he does not get to see very often during the season. Also, he and his wife Tracy welcomed their second child into the world before the Holiday season began.
"We had a new one (a boy named Creed) around Thanksgiving time," beamed Kemenah. "You go home after working long hours trying to get the race car stuff done and you see the two little kids and wife and you kind of forget about that stuff for a while."
With nearly 30 teams beginning the year full-time on the road with series, the always optimistic driver knows that every time he takes to the track it will be important to hit on the set-up. On top of that, he is excited for the fans in the stands, that they will see close, exciting racing all season long, including nine stops in his native state of Ohio.
"You're going to have quite a few teams trying to do this thing all year, and that will be good for the fans," he said. "They'll see everyone racing together and get to see the best of the best."
After opening last season with his second career World of Outlaws win, Kemenah is hungry to add to that win total, especially returning to many tracks for the second and third time this season, as well as competing at many tracks in the Midwest that he has raced at for years.
"We want to wish some more races this year," said Kemenah. "Last year we wanted to win some races, and we got one, which is better than none. Hopefully this year we can get some more wins and just try to be more consistent. Last year we tore up a whole bunch of race cars at the beginning of the year and that put us behind the eight ball. Hopefully we'll come out and look good and see what happens."