Rookies Ready for Return to Eldora: Then Roll into Terre Haute Rossburg, Ohio -- Every World of Outlaws driver remembers the first time set foot on the grounds of the famed Eldora Speedway, as well as the first time they rolled onto the track in...
Rookies Ready for Return to Eldora: Then Roll into Terre Haute
Rossburg, Ohio -- Every World of Outlaws driver remembers the first time set foot on the grounds of the famed Eldora Speedway, as well as the first time they rolled onto the track in their 850-horsepower car. For rookie drivers this can be a bit intimidating, but it also can be the thrill of their life at the same time.
On Saturday night, the Mean 15 will return to the high-banked ½ mile track owned by NASCAR Star Tony Stewart, for the second time this season. For one series driver, it will be his first World of Outlaws race at the track, while for other rookies, it will feel like a home coming.
Jason Martin in the NOS Energy Drink/Mafia Motorsports Maxim, missed the Outlaws first visit to Eldora, healing from a neck injury sustained in early February in Florida. Though he was not in the car for the race, he was in the pit area, helping his team and learning from Rob Chaney who was filling in for him.
"I've talked to Rob since then, trying to pick up some pointers," said Martin. "He's one of the best there is, so we'll see what we can do."
Martin was able to get some laps at the track in late April as he returned for an event with the All Star Circuit of Champions. He made the most of every lap he had on the track, trying to find the best line to run, and picking the brain of veteran drivers to learn all that he could.
"I'm really looking forward to going back there, after I got my feet wet," said Martin. "Now I can get some experience at some of these other tracks and get in the swing of things. It's really looking good for us."
Martin who is only 24 years old, and has been racing for over 11 years, knew of the history and aura of Eldora before making his first visit the Western Ohio. He also knew how tough the track could be on rookies, and how it was like no other track he had ever raced on before.
"It didn't bother me a bit," said Martin.
Chad Kemanah is classified as a "rookie" this season on the World of Outlaws tour, but the Findlay, Ohio native is certainly a veteran when it comes to racing at Eldora. The driver of the Underground Utilities Inc. Eagle currently leads the standings for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award Present by Maxim Racing and ButlerBuilt. He has turned countless laps around the wicked fast oval over the years, and has won with the All Stars on several occasions.
"We have a few laps around Eldora," said a smiling Kemenah. "It's good to be back in Ohio, maybe we can take advantage of this. We've been running better and had some good finishes hanging around the top ten. Hopefully we can get over to Eldora and get a win."
Though it has been a few years since Kemenah first turned a lap on the hallowed ground, he still remembers it like it was yesterday.
"Anybody that goes to Eldora for the first time and tells you they are not intimidated, is probably telling you a little story," said Kemenah. "It just takes so many laps to get comfortable around that place. It took me probably two or three years to comfortable racing there. It's probably one of my favorite race tracks, if not my favorite in the whole country."
Kemenah currently is seventh overall in the World of Outlaw standings. He won the season opener at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida in early February, to score his second career win with the series. He also has racked up four top-five finishes, and 10 top-tens.
"I think we'll be alright," said Kemenah. "We're getting more consistent racing with these guys. Only time will tell now."
Another driver that is classified as a rookie this season is Jeremy Campbell of Monroe, Mich. Despite being the youngest member of the Mean 15 at the age of 22, he too has plenty of experience at the always intimidating track. He also won at the track, at the tender age of 20. Ironically, he held off Chad Kemenah for that victory.
"Two years ago I did win there, so I feel comfortable there," said Campbell driver of the Americas Best Value Inn Maxim. "A couple of times we have been there, our motor wasn't running right and things weren't going right, but hopefully we'll be ready this time."
Campbell certainly knows how to go fast, as he has been racing 410-sprint cars for the past five season, and prior to that he raced in the 360-division. Even with all the seat time that he had before his first Eldora race, he has a similar sentiment to what Kemenah, thinking back to his maiden voyage to the track.
"That place is huge," said Campbell. "The first time you go around there, you're cruising. You run up there around the wall and it is pretty intimidating."
These rookies will mix it up with the rest of the Mean 15 on Saturday night at Eldora, as the World of Outlaws continue their stretch of races on ultra-fast tracks. It all began last Wednesday at The Dirt Track a@ Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte and will wrap up on Sunday night at the always blistering fast Terre Haute Action Track in Indiana.
This will be the series only visit of the year to the wide ½-mile semi-banked oval at the Vigo County Fairgrounds. The Terre Haute Action Track has undergone many renovations in the off-season and always provides for thrilling two and three wide racing.
Tickets for Saturday's Eldora race are $25 for those 16-over, while senior citizens are $23. For those ages 12-15, tickets are just $12, with kids 6-11 only $6. Children 5-under will be admitted free of charge.
Tickets for Sunday's race at Terre Haute can be purchased by calling SLS promotion at 815-344-2023. Adult reserved tickets are $33 for the covered grandstand, while general admission to the west bleachers is $30. Children (0-12) will be admitted to the covered grandstand for $15 and those (6-12) are $12 general admission in the west bleachers, while children 5-under will be admitted free to the west bleachers. Infield tickets are also available for $20 for adults, children (6-12) $10, and kids 5-under will be admitted free.