ALLSTAR: 2002 season review

Chad Kemenah records first All Star Championship. TOLEDO, OH -- After finishing second to Kenny Jacobs in the 2001 All Star Circuit of Champions sprint car point standings, Chad Kemenah used a model of consistency to defeat Jacobs for the 2002...

Chad Kemenah records first All Star Championship.

TOLEDO, OH -- After finishing second to Kenny Jacobs in the 2001 All Star Circuit of Champions sprint car point standings, Chad Kemenah used a model of consistency to defeat Jacobs for the 2002 championship. Kemenah, age 31, of Findlay, Ohio, drove Jim Harble's Kistler Powered Eagle, sponsored by UUI, American Augers, Hyundai and Kear's Speed Shop to 39 top ten finishes in 48 events, an amazing 81% top ten finishing percentage.

Kemenah trailed defending series' champion Jacobs in the points chase early in the season, and took over the points lead following the July fourth week Ohio Sprint Speedweek. At the end of Speedweek Kemenah emerged as the Arizona Sport Shirts 2002 Speedweek champion, worth $5,000, plus the series points lead by 72 points over Jacobs. Kemenah would hold the lead the rest of the season.

Along the way Kemenah recorded a pair of feature wins, one at Eldora Speedway and also in the Freedom 40 at K-C Raceway, plus four seconds, six thirds, seven fourths, eight fifths, eight sixths, a seventh, two ninth place finishes and a lone tenth place finish. He also set quick time nine times with one new track record, won five Haulmark Dashes, four heat races and eight B Mains.

Jacobs ended up second in the final point standings, followed by leading feature winner Jeff Shepard, Danny Smith, Greg Wilson, Dean Jacobs, Kelly Kinser, Mike Wagner, Bill Rose and Barry Ruble.

Jacobs, in his own Jacobs Motorsports No. 6, won a lone feature at Fremont Speedway and compiled 31 top tens, set five quick times, won seven Dashes, ten heats and set two new track records.

Upperco, MD driver Shepard wheeled Denny Ashworth's Eagle to a series leading eight feature wins (Attica, Tri-City, K-C, Knoxville, WaKeeney, Mid-Nebraska, Tulsa and Joplin), with his biggest win in the 1200 pound Nationals at Knoxville Raceway in July. He posted 29 top tens with three quick times, five Dash wins, five heat wins and a B Main victory.

Smith was the pilot of Guy Webb's No. 51 and visited victory lane three times at Tri-State (IN), Florence (KY) and Portsmouth (OH). Along the way he posted 26 top ten finishes. Wilson was aboard Bob Hampshire's familiar No. 63 and won four features. His wins came at Attica Raceway Park three times and once at Butler Motor Speedway in Michigan. He also won nine heat races throughout the season.

Dean Jacobs drove John Baker's No. 34 for 47 of the 48 events and piloted the Ray Pullins No. 29 in the season finale at Florence where he recorded his best finish of the year, a runner-up finish. Seventh place Kelly Kinser won twice (Attica and Fremont) and recorded 32 top tens in his No. 4K. Mike Wagner came home eighth in the points in his own No. 55, recording a third at Florence for his best showing of the year out of a dozen top ten finishes.

Indiana's Bill Rose was crowned the series Rookie of the Year and recorded a season best runner-up finish at Tulsa (OK) Speedway. Burton, Ohio's Barry Ruble competed at every race throughout the season in his own No. 63r and came home tenth in the final standings.

In car owner points, Jim Harble's 15K came out on top over Kenny Jacobs 6, Denny Ashworth 92, Guy Webb 51, Bob Hampshire 63, John Baker 34, Jerry Kinser 4K, Mike Wagner 55 and Al Harrison, who had Rodney Duncan and Jason Johnson behind the wheel of his number 22. Rose's No. 6R rounded out the top 10 in owner points.

Highlights of the season included several events paying $10,000 or more to win, 13 races versus the National Championship Racing Association (NCRA) and the 20th annual Ohio Sprint Speedweek.

Ohio Speedweek saw seven different winners in seven races with Wilson (Attica), Reed (Wayne Co.), Kinser (Fremont), Paul McMahan (K-C), John Ivy (Fremont), Dale Blaney (Lima) and Smith (Portsmouth) the race winners. Smith's triumph was worth $10,000 and Kemenah pocketed the week-long points championship by only seven points over Reed.

The traditional February Florida races saw Kasey Kahne capture the $7,000 Volusia Speedway Park finale and Tim Shaffer being crowned the $26,000 East Bay Nationals champion. The Interstate Racing Association (IRA) co-sanctioned the spring Coors Nationals at Attica Raceway Park. With a strong 72 car field on hand, Greg Wilson and Jeff Shepard recorded the victories. In action against the NCRA, Shepard won the 1200 Pound Nationals at Knoxville Raceway over a stout 96 car field and he grabbed three Thunder Through the Plains wins in August. Other Thunder winners were Jason Johnson and Gary Wright.

Kemenah recorded a K-C Raceway Freedom 40 win and Wilson was the Labor Day Attica Ambush $10,000 winner. Paul McMahan pocketed $10,000 in the Hoosier Fall Classic at Lawrenceburg in September while Shane Stewart closed the season with a $10,000 October victory at Florence, KY.

For the season there were 23 different feature winners out of 48 events, with an average car count of 43 sprints. A total of 68 drivers won heat races, with 15 different Dash winners, 30 different B Main winners, 18 different fast qualifiers and six new track records were set during the season.

Other multiple feature winners in 2002 were Lance Dewease (Putnam Co., Volusia, East Bay, Lincoln), Paul McMahan (East Bay, K-C, Lawrenceburg), Shane Stewart (Fremont, Mercer, Florence), Tim Shaffer (two at East Bay), Kasey Kahne (Hartford MI, Volusia), Gary Wright (Tulsa, Oklahoma City) and Dale Blaney (Lima, Fremont). Single feature winners were Danny Lasoski, Blake Feese, Byron Reed, John Ivy, Calvin Landis, Jeff Mitrisin, Joey Saldana, Jason Johnson, Alvin Roepke and Brooke Tatnell. The wins by McMahan, Stewart, Feese, Landis, Mitrisin and Tatnell were their first career All Star victories.

Final 2002 All Star Driver Points: 1. Chad Kemenah, 3481; 2. Kenny Jacobs, 3365; 3. Jeff Shepard, 3228; 4. Danny Smith, 3208; 5. Greg Wilson, 3111; 6. Dean Jacobs, 3106; 7. Kelly Kinser, 2967; 8. Mike Wagner, 2871; 9. Bill Rose, 2720; 10. Barry Ruble, 2501; 11. Bruce Robenalt, 2301; 12. Rodney Duncan, 2093; 13. Byron Reed, 1406; 14. Paul McMahan, 1179; 15. Jason Johnson, 1157; 16. Rob Chaney, 1151; 17. Phil Gressman, 777; 18. Butch Schroeder, 763; 19. Dale Blaney, 705; 20. Mark Keegan, 659.

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Series Sprint
Drivers Tim Shaffer , Danny Lasoski , Kasey Kahne , Blake Feese , Kenny Jacobs , Jeff Mitrisin , Brooke Tatnell , Dean Jacobs , Paul McMahan , Shane Stewart , Greg Wil , John Baker , Bill Rose , Chad Kemenah , Jason Johnson